Newspapers: Bad now, but worse to come

The outlook for newspapers in 2009 is exceptionally bleak, according to a Kubas Consulting survey of more than 400 Canadian and U.S. newspaper executives and managers. The revenue outlook for next year is described as “terrible,” particularly for classified advertising. The only ad sector in which managers expect revenue to increase is online; however, as the study’s authors note, online ads account for a fraction of total revenue. Also, recent quarterly numbers suggest the online sector may peform more poorly than hoped, especially for newspapers, where online ad sales are often tied to print sales through incentive packages. The survey found Canadian managers, about 17 per cent of respondents, were a little less pessimistic than Americans, reflecting a slightly stronger confidence in the Canadian economy’s prospects for next year.