As Newspapers Ready Q2 Earnings Reports, Overview Finds Industry Slump Accelerating


A fuller picture of the newspaper slump will be revealed this week, as Gannett releases its Q2 report today, with Dow Jones and McClatchy reporting on Thursday. WSJ takes an overview of the industry and finds the downturn in ad revenue is accelerating. Citing numbers from the Newspaper Association of America, total print and online ad revenue dropped 4.8 percent to $10.6 billion in Q1 from a year earlier, compared with its full-year decline in 2006 of 0.3 percent. Among the issues newspapers have faced so far:

— Newspapers’ online ad revenue increased 31.5 percent in 2006 to $2.7 billion. In Q1, online ad revenue increased 22.3 percent to $750 million. However, online represented just 5 percent of the $49.3 billion in total newspaper ad revenue in 2006.

— A research analyst for the financial services firm Benchmark Co. predicts total ad revenue will fall 4.3 percent this year, a particularly deep decline.

— Tribune has been particularly hard hit, as its ad revenue dropped 11.8 percent in May. The publisher, which is in the process of going private with Chicago real estate mogul Sam Zell, has taken on a great deal of debt as part of that transaction; there is uncertainty on Wall Street as to whether the company will be able to afford the extra borrowings.

— The May revenue numbers for Gannett dropped 6.8 percent, while the New York Times Co.’s News Media unit

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