Newspaper sales fall record $3B in 6 mos.
The record 14% sales plunge featured the first-ever drop in online sales. Interactive revenues slipped by 2.3% in the second quarter of this year to $776.6 million. For the entire first half, online sales rose a modest $35 million, or 2.3%, to a bit less than $1.6 billion.
The $3 billion decline in just six months is equal to 6.6% of the industry's total sales of $45.4 billion in 2007. Based on the results in the first half of the year, it appears that total newspaper revenues will be less than $40 billion in 2008, the lowest in a dozen years.
As you can see in the chart below, print revenues have declined at an almost continuously accelerating rate for nine straight quarters since the second quarter of 2006.
The 16% decline in print sales in the second quarter of this year surpassed the prior record plunge of 14.4% in the first quarter of 2008. The drop in the first quarter of this year was larger than the slide in the last quarter of 2007. And so forth.
The sales debacle in the first half of this year was led by a collapse in print classified advertising, which fell nearly $1.8 billion, or 26%, to $5 billion.
Help-wanted and real estate advertising each dived by more than a third from the prior year. Recruitment sales fell $710.6 million, or 36%, to less than $1.3 billion in the first half of the year, while real estate tumbled $682.2 million, or 35.5%, to $1.2 billion in the same period. Automotive classifieds dropped $331 million, or 21.9%, to less than $1.2 billion.
National print sales slid $416 million, or 13.4%, to $3.1 billion, while print retail revenues dropped $913.7 million, or 10%, to $9.1 billion.