Good news: Ads are back. Bad news: Not for papers

Bounce in Ads Returns, but Skips Newspapers

By David Carr/NYT
They say that bad news comes in threes, but it's really just a convenient trope that journalists use as a crutch to avoid writing an actual lead. Then again, it's a nice way to cluster all the bad news about one's profession so as not to dwell on it. Suffice to say that the in-box contained some sign
s this week that the long-running question of whether newspapers were suffering mostly from a cyclical (ads are down) or secular (ads have gone elsewhere) decline seems to have been settled. The answer is both.
Perhaps most grimly, Alan D. Mutter reported this week that while spending on advertising in the first quarter for television was up 10.5 percent, and radio gained 6 percent and spending on Internet rose 7.5 percent, advertising spent on newspapers was still down 9.7 percent. (Magazines were down 3.9 percent, so print in general is taking it on the chin.)
In his tick-tock of reasons behind the slide, Mr. Mutter pointed to automotive advertising as one example:
The secular shift away from newspaper advertising is illustrated vividly in what happened in the early months of the year in the automotive category, where year-over-year vehicle sales grew by 17.2 percent through May. While manufacturers and dealers on average increased their ad budgets by 18.6 percent in the first quarter of the year, automotive classified at newspapers fell 16.0 percent in the same period.
So Detroit may be rearing back to life, but it isn't going to pull newspapers out of the ditch with it.

And in an otherwise cheery report about the comeback in global ad spending by PricewaterhouseCooper in its annual media and entertainment outlook, word came that globally, newspapers did worse last year than had been expected — down 11.4 percent as opposed to the anticipated 10.2. And over the next five years, global ad spending, led by big jumps in mobile ads, will increase 4.2 percent in the aggregate, but spending on newspapers will be up just 0.7 percent, with most of the good newspaper news coming from other parts of the globe.
There are and will be exceptions, but to review, the ad rebound seems to be missing newspapers, global spending on newspapers is apparently not going to improve, and people everywhere seem to be reading them with less frequency. Newspapers executives generally speak about a lack of visibility going forward, but as the picture becomes clearer, it also seems to be becoming darker.

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