Indeed, ad revenue reverted to 1986 levels. In total the decline was more than $10 billion to $27.6 billion for print and online operations.
While the fourth quarter of 2009 featured a smaller decline, even that was a small consolation: the decline was still 27 per cent year over year.
The most precipitous drop came in a category few expect to regenerate: Classified ads. The drop there was 38 per cent from the previous year, and with the presence of such services as Craigslist, most believe it's a permanent shift in business that will not recover.
The president of the association believes there is "encouraging" news in the first-quarter results to date in the industry, a suggestion the worst is over.