McClatchy Newspaper Revenue Clobbered; Web Shift Partially to Blame

Revenue at the country’s third-largest newspaper publishing group (after Gannett and Tribune) declined 8% year over year in Q2, excluding the effects of an asset sale.  The company attributed the decline to the housing slump, which was no doubt a factor.  Another factor, no doubt, was the whirlpool of advertising dollars being sucked into the online publishing companies in McClatchy’s California back yard.

The newspaper industry argues that the current fall-off in real-estate ads is cyclical, not secular, but the folks who actually buy the ads usually disagree.  For example, a recent Bloomberg story (via Paul Kedrosky) quotes the president of Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell Realtors Inc. in Miami, as saying he has cut newspaper advertising by 29 per cent this year, faster than a 9 per cent drop in overall marketing.  Shuffield puts a fork in the newspaper industry’s argument and sums up the real problem, one that is far more devastating than a cyclical real-estate downturn:

“If the market turned up, I wouldn’t give the same percentage to print,” Shuffield said. “You don’t want to advertise on a stone tablet if everyone has moved on to the Gutenberg press.”

Fallinghouse

A lot more details from Bloomberg’s Tim Mullaney

Really, it’s just temporary.

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