Newspaper Ad Slump Moderated in Q2 ? But Print Revenue Worst Since 1983

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By: Mark Fitzgerald

Newspapers narrowed the decline in advertising revenue again in the second quarter — but the ad spending results released Tuesday continue to portray an industry in serious decline.

This year’s second-quarter total print ad revenue of $5.694 billion, for instance, is the lowest Q2 total since 1983.

And while the total print and online ad spending declined by the first single-digit percentage in the past 10 consecutive quarters of double-digit decline, the revenue of $6.438 billion is the lowest Q2 total since the pre-Internet year of 1985.

Figures released by the Newspaper Association of America show total print and online ad spending fell 5.6% the quarter compared to the year-ago results. That represents a significant narrowing of the  decline from 9.7% in the first quarter of the year, and 23.7% in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Online-ad spending, which NAA says now accounts for 12% of total revenue, jumped by 14% to $743.9 million. In the first quarter online spending was up 5% after declines in all four quarters of 2009.

“Despite a highly competitive environment, online-advertising growth rebounded back into double digits, while declines in traditional revenue categories continue to moderate as the general advertising recovery progresses,” NAA President and CEO John Sturm said. “The fact that online now represents nearly 12% of overall newspaper advertising revenues bodes well for our medium’s future in an increasingly digital environment.”

Sturm said there is “heightened optimism” about an advertising turnaround in the industry.

“In a world where trusted, high-quality content is in demand, newspaper companies are uniquely positioned to benefit from the advertising recovery,” he said.

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