Modest newspaper sales bounce predicted
In what passes nowadays for an upbeat take on the newspaper industry from an independent observer, the Virginia-based market research firm boldly predicts that print advertising sales for the nation’s 15,000 daily and weekly papers will bottom out at $35.9 billion in 2009 after peaking at $57.3 billion as recently as 2005.
Borrell forecasts a 2.4% sales rebound in 2010 to $36.8 billion and modest annual gains to take sales to $39.0 billion by 2014. With the over-all size of the national advertising pie likely to shrink in the next five years, Borrell believes newspapers could regain a 15.9% share of the advertising market in 2014 vs. 14.4% in 2009.
As detailed in the chart below, newspaper advertising demand from national advertisers will remain remarkably consistent – and flat – through 2014. As always, the main revenue engine for newspapers will be ads sold to local retailers and classified accounts.
The annual sales numbers used by Borrell are significantly higher than those reported by the Newspaper Association of America, which counts the sales of a more limited subset of publications produced by the publishers of daily papers.
The NAA, whose figures typically are cited in this blog, reported that the industry generated $47.4 billion in print ad sales in 2005. Earlier this year, I predicted that print sales for the papers covered by the NAA were likely to amount to about $28 billion in 2009.
There are too many unknown unkowns for me to forecast any further than that.