Monday, April 02, 2007

Internet up, radio down, newspapers downer

Every month is bad in the traditional media these days, but February was particularly awful for the newspaper folks:
  • Gannett's ad revenues were down 3.8% (USA Today down 10%)
  • New York Times Company down 6% (the Times itself down 7.5%)
  • Tribune Company down more than 5%
  • McClatchy down more than 5%
  • Media General down 5.8%
If these were one-time blips, explainable by bad weather or some outside event, it would be no big deal, but the problem is that the news just seems to get worse and worse.

Most of the numbers were worse than January’s and came after a difficult year in which many newspapers continued to pare costs by laying off employees, shrinking the physical size of their print publications and reducing benefits. Several newspapers also tried raising revenue by accepting advertising in prominent spaces that they had long reserved for news.

And still the numbers were bad. Collectively, the February sales were “the worst group performance to date,” Steven Barlow, an analyst at Prudential Equity Group, wrote to his clients.

And of course, it isn't just newspapers, though they're the worst:

“It’s fundamental, what’s going on with newspapers,” he said. “The younger groups, the most desired demographics, are just not reading them. They aren’t listening to traditional radio either, but I tell radio broadcasters that they’re lucky not to be in newspapers.”

Speaking of which, ZenithOptimedia says that Internet advertising will surpass radio on a world-wide basis by 2008 -- a revision of previous estimates which said it wouldn't happen until 2009. Internet advertising will increase 28.2% this year, compared with an overall increase of 3.7%.

And bringing up the Internet takes up back to newspapers, where we learn that in the UK, the Internet has passed up newspapers in ad spending:
Advertising spending online overtook national newspapers' share of the pie for the first time in 2006 as companies continued to chase a growing web audience.

According to data from the Internet Advertising Bureau out today, online spending smashed through the £2bn barrier in 2006 while television revenues fell and press barely budged.

Tough times.

No comments: