Chart of the Day

Are we watching the death of newspapers?

The chart above displays total annual print newspaper advertising revenue based on actual annual data from 1950 to 2010, and estimated annual revenue for 2011 using quarterly data through the third quarter, from the Newspaper Association of America.  The advertising revenues have been adjusted for inflation, and appear in the chart as millions of constant 2011 dollars.  Estimated revenues of $20.7 billion in 2011 will be the lowest annual  amount spent on newspaper advertising since $19.5 billion in 1951, exactly 60 years ago.

The decline in newspaper ad revenues to a 60-year low is amazing by itself, but the sharp decline in recent years is pretty stunning.  Last year’s ad revenues of about $21 billion were less than half of the $46 billion spent just four years ago in 2007, and less than one-third of the $64 billion spent in 2000.



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  • ConwayCaptain

    Judging by the amount of Ads in the NZH they seem to be going OK

    • Sarrs

      They probably halved the price of advertising and tried to double the number of advertisers to maintain their income. If they focused their energy on printing a high quality and interesting newspaper there would be no need for it – the newspapers would sell themselves and advertisers would be lining up. My old boss used to say you could tell the worst newspapers because they would be the ones with the most ads in them – don’t sell enough units to make it worthwhile so they print more and more ads. It’s sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy – no one buys the newspaper so they increase revenue with advertising, which turns off more buyers which means the need for advertising revenue increases. 

    • @BoJangles

      All those colour adverts stain the fish and chips….

  • SalaciousTCrumb

    Probably coincides with the rise of Internet access and people discovering most of what they have been reading in print is shit.

    • Steve P

      Exactamundo. I’ve always taken what I’ve read in the papers with a grain of salt – things I’ve read in the papers of which I’ve had some personal knowledge always have some spin or angle, but thanks to bloggers like WO I’ve come to realise that even supposedly reputable papers like granny Herald aren’t even worth putting in the bottom of the birdcage (and the Herald seems to take advantage of its conservative reputation to push a particular line).

      These reporters and editors are as cunning and slippery as can be; it’s not so much what they print – which is usually “correct”, as in it’s not technically incorrect (or more importantly for them, libellious), it’s what they *don’t* print which could mean a completely different story behind the facts.

      If you are a witness in court, you must not only tell the truth and nothing but the truth, you must tell the *whole* truth.

    • Mr_Blobby

      Regurgitated Shit. Get it right.

  • Petal

    Just remember that this also means there is less money for real reporting.  It’s a self sustaining downward feedback loop.  

    Bye Bye…