Newspaper ad sales hit 25-year low in 2010
Combined print and online sales at newspapers slid 6.3% in 2010 to $25.8 billion, according to end-of-year statistics released yesterday by the Newspaper Association of America, the industry’s principal trade association.
The last time sales were this low was 1985, when newspaper ad revenues were $25.2 billion, an amount that, adjusted for inflation, would be equal to $49.6 billion in today’s dollars.
As the economy struggled out of the worst recession in a generation, newspapers were the only traditional advertising medium to suffer a sales setback in 2010. Instead of rebounding like the other media, newspapers extended what has proven to be an unprecedented five-year decline in ad sales.
While newspaper sales contracted…
:: Internet advertising sales leaped 13% in the first nine months of 2010, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau, an industry trade group. (Full-year stats have not been published.)
:: Broadcast television sales rose 11% through September, 2010, according to TVB, the television trade association. (Again, full-year figures are not available.)
:: Radio revenues climbed 6% for the full year, according to the Radio Advertising Bureau, a trade group.
:: Magazines managed a 3% sales gain, according to the Publishers Information Bureau, a trade organization.
The one bright spot for publishers in 2010 is that digital ad revenues edged slightly past $3 billion, a gain of 10.9% over the prior year. Even this improvement remained about $100 million short of the peak online sales achieved by newspapers in 2007 and 2008.
Strong as they were, digital sales accounted for only 11.8% of the industry’s total ad sales in 2010, hardly enough to offset the deep – and traumatic – declines in every print ad category since 2005.
Total print advertising last year fell 8.2% to $22.8 billion, reducing the principal revenue source for newspapers by 51.9% from the $47.4 billion booked in 2005. Here are the details:
:: Retail advertising, the largest remaining vertical of print advertising, skidded 9.1% in 2010 to a bit less than $13 billion, representing a 41.7% drop from $22.2 billion in 2005.
:: Classified advertising, the most battered category in the last five years, fell 8.6% to $5.6 billion in 2010, finishing the year at well under a third of the $17.3 billion produced by employment, auto, real estate and other types of want-ads in 2005.
:: National advertising last year fell 4.6% to $4.2 billion, representing a drop of 46.6% from $7.9 billion five years ago.