Ad spending in dailies rises 9.4% in 1999

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Dot-com spending helped boost ad revenues for newspapers in 1999, but national newspapers got most of the windfall.

"The biggest surprise was dot-coms," says analyst Ed Atorino of Wasserstein Perella & Co. "It was a huge bonanza for big-market newspapers. The newspapers got huge chunks, but it was concentrated in huge markets. Small and mid-size market dailies didn't see the dot-com bonanza."

Ad spending in daily newspapers increased a respectable 9.4% from 1998 to 1999, bringing in about $17.65 billion, according to Competitive Media Reporting.


Ad spending in daily newspapers comprised 20.2% of all media spending, nearly the same as the previous year.

National advertisers' spending in national newspapers -- The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and USA Today -- rose 20.6% in '99, to $3.206 billion from '98. While the increase is hefty, national newspapers have a mere 3.7% of the overall media pie. In '98, national dailies accounted for 3.4% of all media spending.

General Motors Corp. ranked as the No. 1 national advertiser in newspapers for '99, with nearly $52 million in spending. Ford Motor Corp.'s dealers were the top spenders in daily newspapers, with GM's local dealers and GM corporate advertising following in second and third place, respectively.

No. 1 advertiser by brand in daily newspapers, Circuit City Stores, reduced spending in that area by 1.2%, while boosting its national newspaper ad spending 35.8% to $19.2 million. Nissan dealer associations increased their daily newspaper spending 130% to $128.8 million.


Financial services and telecommunications brand marketers pumped more money into national newspapers: Fidelity Investment Cos. ad funds increased 174.4% to $19.1 million; Merrill Lynch & Co. was up 246.4% to $10.69 million; AT&T Corp. increased spending for its wireless service 124.9% to $11.27 million; and Sprint PCS was up 198.6% to $10 million.

"We had a good year in '99, especially in terms of national advertisers placing ads in our media," says Jim Conaghan, VP-market and business analysis for the Newspaper Association of America. "We've ridden the wave just like other media have in '99. [We've had] smaller increases on the retail and classified side. We are expecting to be up maybe 10% to 11% this year. Retail last year was up 2.8%. We think we'll be a little stronger this year. Classified was up about 4.3%. We think we'll be around that for '99."

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