Monday, April 8, 2013

Newspaper revenue down 2% in 2012, slowest decline in years, though ad revenue continues to fall sharply

The Newspaper Association of America (NAA) this morning reported that in 2012 newspaper revenue declined 2 percent as newspapers found new money in charging for access to digital news products. Advertising, though, continues to fall, another 6 percent in 2012.

The industry pulled in $38.6 billion in 2012 compared with $39.5 billion in revenue in 2011, according the NAA, helped by a 5 percent increase in circulation revenue. But the NAA also reported new services such as digital consulting for local business and e-commerce transactions grew by 8 percent, a category of revenue the NAA said "barely existed a few years ago."

"America’s newspaper media are transforming themselves,” said Caroline Little, President and CEO of the NAA. "In virtually every community they serve, newspapers have the biggest newsrooms, the best-known brands and significant audience market share. Now they are building on those to find new ways to serve audiences and local businesses."

Here are the NAA's core findings according to their statement:

  • NAA projects that of the $38.6 billion in total revenue in 2012, $18.9 billion came from print advertising, $3.4 billion from digital advertising, $2.9 billion from advertising from direct marketing/niche and non-daily publications, $10.4 billion from circulation and $3 billion from new revenue sources. (The projections do not include revenue from weekly papers not owned by daily newspaper companies.)
  • Combined digital revenue (from circulation, advertising, e-commerce, digital marketing and other sources) made up 11% of total revenue in 2012 for the 13 companies that broke out this data, though that varied by company. It was as high as 29% and as low as 8%.
  • The 5% overall growth in circulation revenue was the first gain in this category for the newspaper industry since 2003. Within that total, for the companies supplying detailed breakdowns, digital-only circulation revenue grew 275%; print and digital bundled circulation revenue grew 499%. Largely as a result of more organizations shifting toward bundling print and online into combined access subscriptions, print-only circulation revenue declined 14%.
  • Within the 8% growth in new revenue sources, revenue from digital agency consulting for local businesses grew 91%. E-commerce revenue grew 20%.
  • Mobile ad revenue, while small (less than 1% of total revenue), doubled (up 100%), according to the papers that broke that data out separately.
  • When revenue from print, digital, niche and delivery of preprints outside of newspapers is combined (based on data from 15 companies that provided such breakouts), total advertising revenue made up 65% of overall revenue in 2012. Within that figure, traditional print newspaper advertising fell 9% and now makes up 46% of total revenue. Digital advertising increased 5% and now makes up 11%; pure-play digital advertising (digital only) increased 20%