New Report on Newspapers: Just Hang On For Another Year!

By: Jennifer Saba

What are publishers’ expectations for 2010? Not as bad as one would think according to an outlook report from Kubas Consultants that polled 500 newspapers executives in November to get their thoughts on future advertising and strategic initiatives.

Ed Strapagiel, executive vice president of Kubas and author of the report, ventures that 2010 might be the year of the bottom. Don’t expect newspapers to be turning in major positive ad growth results, though. From quarter to quarter things are anticipated to improve or “decline less quickly.”

Out of all the advertising categories, classified employment is anticipated to be the weakest. The outlook for ROP and preprint advertising should be better with only slight declines forecasted. “Newspaper executives and managers are significantly less pessimistic than a year ago,” Strapagiel wrote.

One of the more surprising finds to come out of the survey is that many respondents said they don’t expect to outsource ad sales or printing next year. Nor do they anticipate upgrading the presses or cutting frequency.

The top strategic initiative for next year focuses on online including improvements for both Web sites visitors and advertisers.

Remarkably, one in four respondents said they plan to start a specialty, niche or lifestyle products. That said publishers intend on tightening operating budgets next year.

“Things won’t get much better, but they won’t get much worse either,” Strapagiel wrote. “If the same trend continues, we could see positive growth in 2011.”

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