Newspaper websites’ revenue doubled for the third consecutive quarter, but it still isn’t enough to offset print losses, which were down almost 10 percent in Q1, according to the latest figures from the Newspaper Association of America.
Online newspaper revenues were up 10.6 percent to $807.9 million, somewhat down consecutively from Q410′s 14 percent gain. Still, it’s a tremendous improvement over Q110′s 4.9 percent increase. But with online representing a 14.5 percent share of total newspaper ad dollars, there’s not much it can do to prop up print, which fell 9.48 percent to $4.7 billion in Q1. Combined, print and online dropped 7 percent to $5.56 billion.
There was really no good news across the individual ad categories as national ads dropped 11 percent; retail declined 9.5 percent; and classifieds slid 8.15.
While the advertising recovery lifted magazines at least a bit last year, newspapers’ only respite was that the declines got smaller. With the economy looking more uncertain than ever, the hand-wringing about newspaper publishers cost-cutting/layoffs, will only continue. While paywalls are a difficult thing for most local newspapers to ask their readership for at this point, with a few notable exceptions, publishers are increasingly turning to the local daily deals space through partnerships with Groupon or doing it in-house. Publishers hope that e-commerce can help pick up the slack left by falling ad dollars, but that revenue is not expected to be anything but incremental for the next few years. All of which means more quarterly numbers like this one to come — at best.