WASHINGTON (AFP) – US newspaper advertising revenue fell by nearly 28 percent in the third quarter, continuing a slide which has led to layoffs, bankruptcies and the closure of several dailies.
Print and online advertising revenue declined to 6.4 billion dollars in the third quarter from 8.9 billion dollars in the same quarter a year ago, according to figures released by the Newspaper Association of America (NAA).
Print advertising revenue fell 28.95 percent to 5.8 billion dollars with classified advertising revenue down 37.9 percent to 1.46 billion dollars.
Classified ad revenue at US newspapers has collapsed in recent years faced with competition from free online classified sites such as Craigslist.
The online advertising picture was not much brighter. Online advertising revenue declined by 16.92 percent in the quarter to 623.1 million dollars.
NAA president and chief executive John Sturm said “given the depressed state of the overall economy” the third quarter figures should “come as no surprise.”
“Rather, these numbers are in line with most expectations, and even show some modest directional improvement in key categories like retail and national,” Sturm said in a statement.
“There may not be great visibility into 2010 and beyond, but the broad consensus is that the worst has passed,” he said.
Newspapers across the United States have been grappling with a slide in advertising revenue, steadily declining circulation and the migration of readers to free news online.
Average daily circulation for 379 daily newspapers was down 10.62 percent in the April-September period compared with the same period last year, according to Audit Bureau of Circulations figures released last month.
Print advertising revenue at US newspapers has now fallen for 13 quarters in a row, according to NAA figures, while online ad revenue has dropped for the past six quarters.
The industry has been hit by a wave of bankruptcies, job cuts and closures, including a bankruptcy filing by the Tribune Co., owner of the Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times and other major papers.
The 100-year-old Christian Science Monitor went online-only earlier this year and two major dailies, the Rocky Mountain News of Denver, Colorado, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, have shut down in recent months.
With advertising revenue evaporating, top US newspaper executives led by News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch have been looking at ways to begin charging readers for news on the Web.