Online Newspaper Ad Spending Down 8 Percent in Q4 2008

Newspaper Web site ad spending continued to fall in Q4 2008, and at an increasingly rapid pace. Amid hand-wringing and an endless stream of commentary about how to save the sputtering newspaper industry, its digital ad revenues have fallen prey to the economic downturn. The Newspaper Association of America reported online advertising was down over 8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008.

According to the NAA, online newspapers took in $778 million in Q4 2008, an 8.1 percent decrease from Q4 2007, when online newspaper ad spending hit $846 million. In the fourth quarter of ’07, the industry was riding a wave of positive digital advertising growth. In fact, online ad spending on paper sites was up nearly 14 percent that quarter over Q4 2006.

For the full year 2008, the industry took in $3.1 billion in online ad revenues, falling 1.8 percent from 2007. Total print and online ad spending dropped 16.6 percent to $37.8 billion.

In total, newspaper publishers garnered around $10 billion in combined print and online ad revenue in Q4 2008, a drop of almost 20 percent since the fourth quarter of 2007 when it collected $12.5 billion.

Online ad revenues fell for the first time ever in the second quarter of 2008, dropping 2.4 percent to $776.6 million.

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