Newspaper Online Ad Revenue Returning to Growth

Newspaper execs know they have a problem with their traditional printed product. Readership and circulation continue to decline. During the early part of the recession, it looked like the digital strategy for many newspapers was in trouble as well. But the latest figures from the Newspaper Association of America show that revenue from digital advertising is on the upswing for newspaper publishers.

Overall, newspaper industry revenues were down in 2010. By category, the revenues broke out as follows:

  • National: $4.221 billion
  • Retail: $12.926 billion
  • Classified: $5.648 billion

The classified segment was comprised of real estate at $1.239 billion, automotive at $1.106 billion, employment at $755 million and other at $2.550 billion. The total print revenue of $22.795 billion, combined with online revenue of $3.042 billion made for an industry total of $25.838 billion. This level marks a drop of 6.3% from 2010 levels but it is the smallest drop since 2007. While the print portion of ad revenue dropped 8.2% overall last year, the online portion increased 10.9%. According to NAA data, 11.7% of newspaper revenue stems from digital platforms.  This was up from 9.9% the previous year.

In general, a typical daily printed newspaper reaches 39.6% of the target population (consumers over age 18). When both print and online versions are considered for one week period, the media format reaches 70.2% of the target audience with some variation according to age:

  • Ages 18–34: 59.4%
  • Ages 35 or older: 74.8%
  • Ages 55 or older: 78.4%

Readership also increases as household income and education rise.

More newspapers are considering instituting a pay wall which will limit or end the free online access many consumers have been enjoying. As pay walls become a more common practice, newspaper companies will be working hard to offer their readership a quality product and their advertisers a quality audience – all of which will increasingly take place online.

[Sources: Advertising Expenditures/​Readership. Newspaper Association of America. 11 Mar. 2011. Web. 31 Mar. 2011] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.