Study: Newspaper Web Sites Dominate Local Traditional Media, But Are Losing Share

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By: Jennifer Saba

Of all the traditional local media, like television and radio, newspapers capture the most local online advertising dollars. In 2007 newspapers netted 26.9%, or $2 billion of the $7.5 billion total local online ad spend, according to Borrell Associates on behalf of the Newspaper Association of America.

“This survey provides further proof that local advertisers recognize newspaper Web sites as an indispensable way to reach their best customers,” John Sturm, president and CEO of the NAA, said in a statement.

Newspapers’ slice of the online pie surpasses local yellow pages (9.5%), local television stations (9.5%), and radio (2.1%).

But when it comes time to Internet pure-plays like Google and Yahoo, however, newspapers are losing ground. In 2007, Internet pure-plays claimed 49.7% of local online ad dollars.

In 2006, newspapers share of local online ad revenue was 35.9%. In 2007, that share is down 9 percentage points from 2006.

The study found that at the largest newspaper Web sites, more than half of the revenue was generated from new advertisers. Online-only advertisers accounted for 59% of the total ad revenue generated by those sites. This points to a trend that newspapers are growing less reliant on classified upsells to the Web.

John Kimball, the senior vice president and chief marketing office at the NAA, noted in a statement, “That newspaper Web sites who employ at least one salesperson dedicated to selling online advertising averaged 87% more revenue than sites that relied solely on print representatives to sell online ads.”

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