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Newspaper Digital Ad Sales Not Offsetting Print Losses

March 8, 2012
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As advertisers continue to shift spending from traditional print media to the Internet, newspapers are failing to make up for the decline in print advertising revenues via gains in online ad revenues, according to a report by Pew Research.

Based on analysis of private financial data from 38 newspapers and in-depth interviews with senior executives from 13 companies, Pew found that on average, newspapers are losing seven dollars in print advertising for every dollar they gain in digital revenues.

Below, additional findings from The Search for a New Business Model, by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ).

Overall, digital advertising is growing at a healthy pace: Among the papers studied, online ad sales grew 19% annually during the 2010 study period. However, print ad sales, which still account for 92% of overall ad revenues among the papers studied, fell by an average of 9% during the same period.


The highest rate of annual digital ad revenue growth occurred at those papers with circulations of 50,000 and above (20% on average).


Smaller papers (those with circulations smaller than 25,000 and those between 25,000 and 50,000) also recorded double-digit digital ad growth (14% and 13%, respectively), but they lost less print revenue during the period (3% and 7%, respectively).

The Digital Advertising Pie

On average, conventional display and online classified ads accounted for three-quarters of total digital ad revenues in the third quarter of 2011. Among the newspapers that submitted data for that period, the key ad categories with share of revenues include: 

  • Non-targeted display and banner ads: 50%
  • Online classifieds: 26%
  • Behaviorally targeted ads: 4%
  • Video ads: 2% 

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  • by HCG corporate designs Thu Mar 8, 2012 via web

    As a desktop publisher and somebody being very familiar with the publishing industry, I think the publishers are really facing a big challenge, maybe the biggest challence this industry has ever seen. In order to succeed, it's necessary to find ways to bring digital and print media together. A new invention is called Touchcode, this could bring a definite benefit for publishers: http://www.touchcode.de/case-studies/media-publishing.html

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