Posted December 21, 2010 9:07 pm by with 2 comments

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We’ve seen it coming but the day is finally here, by the time we ring in the new year, spending on online ads will have passed newspaper ad spending for the first time ever.

According to eMarketer, print advertising in newspapers will fall to $22.8 billion while online ad spending will rise to $25.8 billion. They expect the difference to be even more significant by the end of 2011.

This past October, the Associated Press published a report that noted a 5% drop in newspaper circulation and an 8.7% drop the year before that.

Says the report:

Circulation declines hurt newspapers financially not only because they are losing revenue from subscriptions, but also because the bulk of newspaper advertising revenue is still generated by printed editions rather than their websites.

The only good news for newspapers is that their online arms are seeing a rise in ad spending, but it still only makes up 11% of the overall ad spending in the category.

You don’t need a study to confirm the fact that more people than ever are getting their news online, on their phones and on TV. So is the daily paper doomed to become a relic of the past? Perhaps the mid-term solution is to forget daily delivery and go to a weekly format. One big Sunday paper loaded with the top news and commentary stuffed with the coupons and comics. It would cut down on the number of available ad spaces in a given week, but it might be what’s needed in order to keep newspapers from folding completly.

The statistics do show that the decline in subscriptions is leveling out but that can’t be more than a temporary stop-gap. Five years from now, when everyone is walking around with a wireless tablet in their pockets, will anyone be interested in getting their fingers dirty with newsprint? It’s hard to imagine.

What are your thoughts? Do you still enjoy perusing the Sunday paper?

  • I am surprise it took this long. I would have expected that online outpaced print advertising years ago.

  • I would agree with Carmen, that I would thought this already happened, but I talked with a local newspaper a few weeks ago about ad rates and I was shocked they were still so high!! I thought it was 1990 with those rates for newspaper advertising, but they are still getting a few people to buy at those prices so more power to them….for as last as it longs which should be much longer.