The Newspaper Association of America released data today that indicates a loss of nearly $3 billion in revenue in the first six months of this year over last year. The $18.8 billion in revenue in the first half of 2008 is the lowest amount in a dozen years, and the results feature the first decline of online revenue in the second quarter of 2008. While overall online revenue is up year-over-year, what was gained in the first quarter was practically wiped out in the second --- a modest $35 million gain to $1.6 billion.
Print revenue has declined for nine straight quarters. year-over-year print sales were off 16 per cent in the quarter and 14.4 per cent in the previous quarter. Classified advertising is in the biggest decline, down more than 35 per cent in the year. Help-wanted and automotive classifieds were hardest-falling.
While the troubled U.S. economy is a contributor to the dire data, clearly there are competitive media issues and significant advertising spend shifts under way. Whether they're cyclical or permanent is a matter of opinion.