Blog Post

Not The Typical Quarter: Newspaper Websites’ Revenue Growth Interrupted In Q2; Slowdown Continues

When newspaper companies released their quarterly earnings for the past two years, the news tended to follow this arc: circ, print ad revenues tended to be down, while online kept on growing. But for a number of major publishers, this past Q2 witnessed online declines by Tribune (-4 percent), AH Belo (NYSE: AHC) (NYSE: BLC) (-11 percent), EW Scripps (NYSE: SSP) (-8 percent) and Lee Enterprises (NYSE: LEE) (-9.1 percent). AdAge asks what happened this time out, and identified the usual suspects: a battered economy and the slow transition from undivided sales for both print and web to independent teams for each. As has been noted many times before, convergent ad sales that tie print and online together tend to dilute any gains, as marketers just spread their ad budget around to both sides, instead of increasing their spending. That’s a major reason that newspapers have not been able to ride the wave of local online ad growth.

Exceptions: While McClatchy’s (NYSE: MNI) Q2 earnings report was predictably poor, as profits and revenues in general continued to fall, online revs were up 12.5 percent. However, since they made up only 11.8 percent of total ad dollars