Contrary to disingenuous happy talk from industry leaders, the third quarter brought absolutely no relief to the relentless dive in newspaper advertising, as total sales fell $2.5 billion to bring the year-to-date decline to nearly $7.9 billion.
With three months to go in the worst year ever for newspapers, the drop in sales in the first three quarters of 2009 is roughly equal to the combined revenues for the last 12 months of Gannett and McClatchy Co. In other words, it’s as though two of the largest publicly owned publishers in the land just fell off the face of the earth.
Sales plunged deeply in every category in the third quarter, according to statistics posted last week by the Newspaper Association of America, the industry-funded trade group...
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