Newspaper Advertising To Rise 5.7% In 2003

By: Lucia Moses

Newspaper advertising revenue in 2003 will advance 5.69%, to $46.6 billion, following two years of declines, Miles E. Groves, chief economist at the Barry Group consultancy, wrote in his annual year-end prediction slated for release Monday. Groves has become more pessimistic in his outlook since August, when he called for 6.4% growth in 2003.

More pessimistic still is Merrill Lynch’s Lauren Rich Fine, who sees 4% growth in newspaper ad revenue next year.

At the same time, Groves has revised his forecast for this year, from an advance of 1.54% to a decline of 0.47%. In his latest report, he cited the impact of terrorism, the threat of war, corporate scandals, and the lack of business investment as key factors in 2002’s results.

For 2003, he predicted national advertising would lead the gains, percentagewise, increasing 8.11%, to $7.67 billion. It would be followed by classified, up 6.09%, to $16.7 billion — bolstered by a mid-year pickup in help-wanted ads — and retail, up 4.58%, to $22.22 billion.

Groves also predicted positive newspaper readership trends would continue and that federal media cross-ownership rules would change by May.

The economist is scheduled to discuss his forecast at UBS Warburg’s 30th annual Media Week Conference in New York Monday, along with Universal McCann’s Bob Coen, Zenith Optimedia Group’s John Perriss, and the Newspaper Association of America’s Jim Conaghan.

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