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Newspaper Ad Revenue to Recover

Forecast: Rebound to Start Next Year

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Sorry, haters of traditional media: Newspapers' slide is going to end. That's the word, at least, from a new forecast projecting that newspapers' print ad revenue will actually rebound 2.4% next year.

Newspaper chart

"We are forecasting that by 2014, newspaper income will be up a total of 8.7% over the 2009 figures, to slightly more than $39 billion," said Colby Atwood, president of ad research firm Borrell Associates, in the forecast. "That will be short of its 2008 level, but a long way from extinction -- and good enough to increase newspapers' share of total ad revenue 1.5 points, from 14.4% to 15.9%."

According to Borrell, newspapers are going to stick around -- no longer as important or big, but as niche players serving a "greatly distilled" audience of well-educated, higher-income readers.

Newspapers in smaller markets are still doing better than big ones such as the Boston Globe, the kind that attract all the attention, Borrell pointed out. Any recovery in the economy will return at least some advertising to papers.

Newspapers are getting better at selling ads, using improving and still big ad sales staffs to contact local advertisers. And their own web sites, advertising on which Borrell doesn't include in its newspaper numbers, will likely generate more revenue over time.

PricewaterhouseCoopers recently forecast that print-ad spending in U.S. newspapers will keep falling in 2010, 2011 and 2012, but will rebound slightly in 2013.

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