US newspaper ad revenues continue to decline, according to the latest figures from the Newspaper Association of America. In Q1, total expenditures stood at $5.18 billion, down 6.86% from $5.56 billion a year earlier. Online revenues grew by just 1%, to $816 million, not nearly enough to offset the 8.2% drop in print revenues, to $4.36 billion.
Previous figures released in March 2012 by the NAA revealed that print revenues (in absolute dollars) halved between 2005 and 2011.
Online Growth Rate Slowest Since ’09
Q1 online revenue growth was the smallest for any quarter since 2009, when revenues fell by double-digits from Q1 through Q3. The 1% year-over-year growth rate in Q1 2012 represents a large drop from the 10.6% growth seen in Q1 of 2011, and also represents a slowdown from 4.9% growth in Q1 2010.
Meanwhile, revenues from print advertising have fallen by at least 8% year-over-year in each of the past 5 quarters. The precipitous fall in print revenues, coupled with the growth in online (even though muted in Q1) has led to online taking a larger chunk of total newspaper revenues. Overall, online accounted for 15.76% of total newspaper ad expenditures in Q1. This compares to 12.21% in Q1 2010.
National, Classified Categories Continue Decline
National advertising revenues declined 9.95% year-over-year in Q1, to $832.5 million, after dropping 10.5% in 2011 overall. The classifieds category has taken a similar trajectory, down 9.85% to $1.04 billion in Q1, after falling 11% in 2011. The retail category, which represents the majority of expenditures, saw a comparatively smaller decline of 6.9%, down from $2.67 billion to $2.49 billion.
Within the retail category, the apparel and accessories and food verticals, which represent 7.6% and 13.2% share of category expenditures, respectively, were the only to buck the trend, with ad dollars rising in each. In the national category, coupon marketing organizations increased expenditures from $272.75 million to $305.53 million, taking 36.7% share of the category’s revenues.