Newspaper ad revenues for 2011 to be US$24B, down from record high of US$49.4B in 2005, predicts analyst

THETFORD CENTER, Vermont , January 17, 2012 () – Beginning in February, Editor & Publisher magazine will begin “deconstruct[ing] the current newspaper business model and rebuild[ing] it from the ground up,” in a series it calls 2020 Vision.

E&P columnist and industry analyst Alan Mutter predicted that 2011 would mark “the lowest point yet” for newspaper ad revenue. Mutter was analyzing data from the Newspaper Association of America, and predicted that 2011 revenues would be $24 billion, down from the record high $49.4 billion in 2005. Q4 2011 results are still drifting in, but for Q1 through Q3, classified ads fell 12.9%,retail by 8.8%, and national advertising dropped 11%.

In an analysis of data compiled by the Newspaper Association of America, E&P columnist and industry consultant Alan Mutter predicted that 2011 would mark the lowest point yet for newspaper ad revenue — a mere $24 billion in comparison to the record high of $49.4 billion in 2005. Though Mutter has drawn negative comments from our readers for his critique of the industry, the numbers from the NAA can’t be ignored. In the first nine months of 2011, classified advertising fell 12.9 percent, retail dropped 8.8 percent, and national advertising fell 11 percent.

E&P observes that, however important a digital strategy appears to be, it has yet to fulfill its potential in newspaper revenue. “Sure, digital advertising climbed 8.3%, but digital still contributes only 14.3% to overall publisher revenue.

E&P pledges to point a critical eye at every aspectof newspaper publishing, starting with content “always the bread and butter” in February; then moving on to distribution, technology, budget allocation and management.

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