Total Newspaper Advertising Continued Steep Descent in Q1 2008

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By: Jennifer Saba

According to the Newspaper Association of America, total print and online advertising revenue fell 12.8% to $9.2 billion in Q1 compared to the same period a year ago. It’s the largest quarterly drop since the organization started measuring ad results in 1971.

Perhaps even more troubling, the online advertising growth rate slowed dramatically. Online ad revenue in Q1 grew 7.1% to $804 million. That’s compared to high double- digital quarterly growth rates, an average of 27% since 2003. In Q1, online ad revenue represented 8.7% of total ad revenue, up from 7.1% in Q1 2007.

Classified advertising revenue, which plunged almost 25% in Q1 to $2.5 billion, impacted the overall numbers. It was also the largest quarterly decline for the category since 1971.

Retail advertising revenue was down 8.4% to $4.3 billion. National advertising decreased 9.5% to $1.5 billion.

The declines are due to two forces pounding newspapers across the country: the shift in spending away from traditional print to online by advertisers, and an economic downturn that is affecting help wanted and real estate advertising.

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