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Newspapers Report Biggest Drop in Ad Revenue in 50 Years



More bad news news about the economy and the newspaper industry. This is a particularly disturbing headline, especially if you’re in the newspaper industry. Plus, it’s an industry I’m fond of. Yes, that’s right – newspapers have had the worst drop in advertising revenue in more than 50 years.

The Newspaper Association of America (NAA), shows that total print advertising revenue fell 9.4% in 2007 compared to 2006. It now stands at $42 billion. That’s the most severe percent decline since the association started measuring advertising revenue in 1950. The worst drop before that was in 2001 when revenue dropped 9%.

Total advertising revenue including online revenue — decreased 7.9% in 2007 to $45.3 billion compared to 2006. Online revenue is also slowing, though it is still growing. This is the bright spot. In 2007 online ad revenue grew 18.8% to $3.2 billion. In 2006, online ad revenue rose 31.4% to $2.6 billion. In 2005, it jumped 31.4% to reach $2 billion.

In an NAA press release, John Sturm, president and CEO of the NAA was quoted as saying, “…newspapers publishers are continuing to drive strong revenue growth from their increasingly robust Web platforms.”

Last year, online revenue now represented 7.5% of total newspaper ad revenue compared to 5.7% in 2006. Print classified ads have hurt the most, down 16.5% over last year.