Tuesday, March 27, 2007

February ad revenue dips don't faze editors

Editors don't seem too concerned by this morning's article in The New York Times about the decline in ad revenue.

"It’s just one month," said Denis Finley, editor of The Virginian-Pilot. "It's no reason to panic."

However, Carolina Garcia, editor of the Monterey County Herald, disagrees.

"I think March is going to be worse," she said, adding that their projections for this month will show a further decline.

The article cited February losses of 10 percent for The Wall Street Journal, 6 percent for The New York Times Company, 5 percent for The Tribune Company, 5 percent for McClatchy, 4 percent for The Boston Globe’s owner New England Media Group and 3.8 percent for Gannett.

"It's obvious one month isn't compensating for the loss of print [revenue]," Finley said. "Eventually, I think online will overtake the losses in print. But it's a scary time."

Garcia said one of the reasons she is attending this conference is to find answers and solutions to this problem. However, her paper's Web site has seen an increase in online readership and a stabilization in online ad revenue.

Just two months ago, The Politico's owner Robert Allbritton told Poynter's Romenesko, "You can get infinitely more advertising money if you have a print product." However, he said that publishing exclusively online is "the future."

Ad spending on newspaper Web sites increased 31.5 percent to $2.7 billion last year, according to the Newspaper Association of America.

"What's really going to suffer is the journalism," Finley said. "Everyone's focused on the money. Not enough people are thinking about the journalism, which is what this business was built on."


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