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Newspapers Look to Targeting, Video to Boost Flagging Revenues

Newspapers Look to Targeting, Video to Boost Flagging Revenues

Will newer display formats and better targeting help digital revenues rise faster?

It’s not news that newspapers are having a harder time than they once did raking in the ad dollars. After years of more dramatic declines, eMarketer estimates that US spending on print newspaper advertisements will dip another 6% in 2012 to $19.4 billion. Digital ad sales for newspapers are doing better—they are expected to increase 11.4% this year—but will still account for only $3.7 billion, meaning that gains on the online side of the ledger will not yet balance out print’s losses.

March 2012 research from the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism suggests that newspapers are bullish about online opportunities, however, seeing targeting and newer ad formats as important sources of incremental revenues.

More than nine in 10 US newspapers selling targeted online advertising believed that such ads would take in a greater share of digital revenue over the next year, and nearly as many respondents said the same for video ads. Most respondents, however, also reported that these two tactics represented only a minor portion of their ad sales effort—with more going toward other display and banner advertising or classifieds.

Expected Change in Digital Ad Revenue Share of Select Advertising Tactics According to US Newspapers, 2012 (% of total)

Mobile may also be a new bright spot for the print world. Between Q4 2010 and the same period in 2011, Pew reported, mobile ad revenues climbed to nine times their earlier level as a percentage of total digital revenues.

Percent of Digital Ad Revenues from Mobile According to US Newspapers, Q4 2010 & Q4 2011

eMarketer predicts continued growth in online ad spending for US newspapers (including mobile display and search ads), reaching $4.5 billion by 2016. At the same time, the decrease in revenues from print ads will continue to gradually shrink, but still outweigh digital gains. By 2016, the newspaper industry will still be losing about 1% of total ad dollars each year.


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