Newspaper Advertising in US Sagged to 25-Year Low in 2010

Article excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Newspaper advertising in the U.S. has sunk to a 25-year low as marketing budgets followed readers to the Internet, where advertising is far cheaper than what publishers have been able to command in print.

Advertisers spent $25.8 billion on newspapers' print and digital editions last year, according to figures released by the Newspaper Association of America. That's the lowest amount since 1985 when total newspaper advertising stood at $25.2 billion.

After adjusting for inflation, newspaper advertising now stands at about the same level as nearly 50 years ago. In 1962, newspaper advertising totaled $3.7 billion, which translates to about $26 billion today.

Print advertising has fallen in each of the past five years, dramatically shrinking newspaper publishers' main source of income. Even as the economy has gradually improved since 2009, newspapers are still bringing in less revenue as advertisers embrace free or cheaper Internet alternatives that aim to deliver the messages to people most likely to be interested in the products being pitched. The shift has accelerated in recent years as more readers abandoned newspapers' print editions for the Web.

Newspapers have been mining their digital editions for more revenue.

Online ads generated $3 billion for newspapers last year, an 11 percent increase from the previous year. Meanwhile, print ads dropped 8 percent to $22.8 billion. Before the slump began in 2006, print advertising generated about $47 billion in annual revenue for newspapers. …