U.S. newspaper revenue drop slows

The Washington Post

For the beleaguered newspaper industry, the good news may be that the bad news isn’t getting worse.

Newspaper revenue fell just 2 percent last year compared with 2011, according to new data compiled by the Newspaper Association of America, the industry’s main trade group.

Although that’s hardly cause for celebration, the slight decline is a man-bites-dog story for an industry that has been devoured in recent years by online competition and has been hemorrhaging readers and advertisers. During the preceding six years, industry revenue plunged 42 percent, according to NAA figures.

In fact, print advertising revenue continued to shrink, falling 9 percent last year. The more hopeful sign is that some of those losses are starting to be made up by other sources, the group said. Circulation revenue, for example, grew 5 percent, driven by price increases for print subscriptions and by digital subscriptions. It was the first time circulation revenue has grown since 2003.