Digital subscription revenue or not, newspaper advertising continues slide

by Curtis Lee Fulton

News industry blogger Alan D. Mutter is unimpressed with yesterday’s National Association of Newspapers (NAA) revenue profile:

When the NAA first started tracking digital sales in 2003 (nearly a decade after the commercial arrival of the Internet), the aggregate print and digital ad revenues of all the nation’s newspapers were 30.7 times greater than Google’s annual sales. When aggregate newspaper ad revenues peaked in 2005, their annual sales were 7.7x greater than Google’s.  As aggregate newspaper ad sales fell and Google’s revenues rose, Google and newspapers were neck-and-neck in 2009.  Google overtook the combined ad sales of all the newspapers in the United States in 2010 and has been on a tear ever since, outselling publishers by 1½x in 2011 and by 2x in 2012. 

Brutal. I remain an optimist however, and contend that quality journalism coupled with digital subscriptions and a range of mobile offerings will lead the news industry to victory.