Newspaper Roundup: Online Ad Revs At McClatchy Dip 3.1 Percent; Lee’s Online Ads Rise 48 Percent


Newspaper advertising numbers told a familiar story of continued struggle in August. While McClatchy (NYSE: MNI), Lee Enterprises (NYSE: LEE) and Journal Communications (NYSE: JRN) all experienced difficulty with classifieds and circulation, at least the last two posted healthy gains for online. McClatchy saw both print and and internet spending hit by weak real estate markets, particularly in California and Florida, which negatively affected its classified ad sales. The numbers from this week’s reports:

McClatchy: The summer doldrums hit McClatchy this August, as the publisher of the Sacramento Bee saw its online ad revenues slip 3.1 percent to $13.7 million from $14.2 million the year before. Overall ad revenues in August 2007 fell 9.2 percent (to $143 million from from $158 million) and the Sacramento company’s total revenues were down 8.4 percent (to $169 million from $185 million). And from a year-to-date perspective, ad revenues dropped 8 percent (to $1.2 billion from $1.3 billion) and total revenues decreased 7.1 percent (to $1.5 billion from $1.6 billion).

— McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt attributed the fall-off in advertising to a series of declines in real estate ads, particularly in California and Florida. He warned that these same ad trends are likely to continue into Q4 as well. Release

Lee: On Monday, Lee reported that online ads in August rose 48 percent, coming in at $5.3 million from $3.6 million in August 2006. Year-to-date, the Davenport,Iowa publisher of the St. Louis Post Dispatch saw its internet advertising grow 56.2 percent to $50.6 million from $32.4 million. In all, total ad revenues were down 1.3 percent to $69.6 million. Total ad spend on a year-to-date basis decreased 1.1 percent to $794 million.

— The rise in online ad revenue still wasn’t enough to offset its total decreases, as Lee noted that combined print and online classified advertising revenue fell 2.7 percent for the month to $28.9 million, as real estate lagged 11.5 percent for the month compared to August 2006. Release

Journal Communications: Internet ad revenue for its daily newspaper division gained 35 percent to $1.15 million compared to $0.85 million in August 2006. Its daily newspaper total ad revenue were $12.5 million, down 6.5 percent from last year’s $13.39 million. Specifically, retail advertising was down 2.0 percent, classified advertising revenue was down 11.4 percent.

— For JC’s publishing segment, which includes the newspaper unit, totaled $20.35 million, a decrease of 6.9 percent versus the previous August’s $21.87 million. The segment’s ad revenue from continuing operations in August plunged 9 percent to $15.19 million from $16.70 million. Release

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