When the news is as bad as it’s been for newspaper advertising, any small ray of hope is welcome, like the slight decline in the decline. The Newspaper Association of America has tallied up the numbers for Q3 and came up with a decline in ad dollars of 5.39%. That’s the smallest decline papers have seen since 2007 but is that a reason to celebrate? Not really.
When you look at the complete grid showing the history of newspaper ad dollars, both online and print, it’s still a pretty dismal picture. The actual combined dollars for last year is listed as $27,564 million. The last time dollars were that low was in 1987. Factor in the lack of online dollars and inflation and that’s a horrendous image. From there, the numbers rise steadily, hitting $49 million in 2005 and it drops like the Times Square ball on New Year’s Eve from then until now.
With the rise of the internet, we expect to see print ad dollars give way to online dollars but even there, sales have gone flat. Online is up over last year but not as strong as last quarter.
Putting a positive spin on all of this is NAA President John F. Sturm:
“These latest advertising figures indicate a continuing and encouraging trend toward recovery and growth for newspapers. Print revenue declines continue to slow as the economy recovers, while newspapers’ multiplatform transition has allowed online growth to maintain its steady advance at a healthy double-digit rate.”
“Newspaper companies continue to monetize their digital properties, drawing more than 11 percent of their third-quarter revenues from websites that attracted nearly two-thirds of all adult Internet users in October – more than 105.2 million unique visitors.”
As bleak as the situation may be compared to past numbers, I don’t see newspapers going the way of the 8-Track anytime soon. I’m first and foremost an internet user but I still get the Sunday paper for the coupons and retail ad circulars and I’ve been known to gaze at an ad or two inside the sections as well.
What about you? Are you still buying a weekly paper and do newspapers figure into your ad strategy? We’d like to know.