US newspaper ad revenue falls 10%
SAN FRANCISCO — Advertising revenue at US newspapers fell 10 percent in the first quarter from the year before, the smallest such drop since the recession began in late 2007.
Newspaper ads brought in $6 billion in the January-March period, down from $6.6 billion last year, according to the Newspaper Association of America. The newspaper industry is now subsisting on 46 percent less ad revenue than just four years ago. Ad revenue was $11.1 billion in the first quarter of 2006.
Although newspapers are still hurting, the first-quarter trend offered the latest sign that the misery may not last much longer. The industry’s year-over-year declines in ad revenue have eased in the past three quarters.
With the shortfalls in advertising, their main source of revenue, newspapers have endured bankruptcy filings and dramatic cutbacks in staff. Some newspapers have closed, gone online-only, or curtailed home delivery.
Ad revenue has now fallen at US newspapers in 13 consecutive quarters compared with the previous year. The latest quarter marked the first time newspaper ad revenue has decreased by less than 12 percent since the final three months of 2007.
Newspapers have been trying to lessen their dependence on ad revenue as less expensive alternatives have emerged on the Internet. Many big city newspapers have raised their prices.