Newspaper sales fell almost $2B in one quarter
Eking out $8.9 billion in print sales in the three months ended in September, the industry shed a bit less than $2 billion in revenues from the same period in the prior year, according to statistics published quietly on the afternoon before Thanksgiving by the Newspaper Association of America.
Ad sales in the quarter dropped by record high percentages in every single category, including interactive sales, which the industry had hoped would offset deep secular declines in print ad demand.
Falling for the second quarter in a row, online sales slipped by $23.2 million, or 3%, to a bit under $750 million. The category fell 2% in the second quarter, the first time ever that it posted a sales decline.
Retail advertising, which delivers some 45% of the industry’s advertising revenue, dropped 11.7% in a year’s time to a bit under $4.5 billion.
The debacle was worst in the three principal classified advertising verticals:
:: Recruitment classified sales plunged 43.6% to $497.5 million.
:: Real estate classifieds tumbled 38.6% to $629.3 million.
:: Automotive classified fell 29.2% to $563 million.
The performance in the third quarter was affected only partially by the worldwide financial panic that froze the credit markets in mid-September, throttling the already waning demand for hiring, auto sales and home purchases.
The outlook for the final period of the year is worse, when the three classified verticals are likely to experience the full impact of the economic meltdown.