“Total 2007 revenues for Canadian newspapers, including online operations, were marginally lower (-0.8%) dipping to $3.576 billion, the CNA reported. The slightly sharper decline in print advertising (-2.4%) was offset by vigorous growth in online revenues (+29%). Circulation sales were also down slightly, to $808.9 million, a drop of 1.2% over 2006, a year in which circulation sales posted a 3.8% gain.”
While the numbers represent a positive outlook for the publishers (there's time), the 29% increase in online ad revenue and its marginal impact on offsetting the decline in print revenue might signal the industry’s ongoing struggle to appropriately monetize the media channel.
Luckily, interactive local media is still in its early stages in Canada and so, the potential to further offset the “gentle” decline brings hope. Strategies are a foot and we’ll see a lot of strength coming from the online print networks once they’ve got their ducks in a row.
The release went on to make a salient point for online media planning/buying agencies. Over the past two years, there have been many tales of gloom and doom south of the border for the newspapers. Proximity and blurred media sources can easily influence a media planner’s decision and this is an example of why geographically specific research is so important.
The US Story...
“…total print advertising revenues in 2007 fell 9.4% to $42 billion, according to the Newspaper Association of America (NAA), the biggest year-over-year decline since 1950, when the NAA first began charting the numbers. The NAA said online revenue growth softened substantially, increasing by only 18.8% in 2007 (compared to 31.4% in 2006), ten points lower than the rate of growth in Canada in the same year.”
I believe that the newspapers have tremendous potential to mobilize their content and build out their online communities. In the meantime, one truth remains - fragmented media consumption calls for fragmented media planning.