Newspaper Ad Sales Drop 5.6%

You could call this bad news, but it’s more expected at this point. Newspaper ad sales declined 5.6 percent in the second quarter compared to the same time last year, according to the Newspaper Association of America report.

Total print and online ad sales fell from $6.82 billion in second quarter of 2009 to $6.44 billion in 2010, during the same period. As the Wall Street Journal points out, this 5.6 percent drop is considerably slower than the past year’s number. In the second quarter of 2009, ad sales dropped 29 percent compared to 2008.

Plus it beats the 27.9 percent drop seen in the third quarter of 2009, 23.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009 and the 9.7 percent drop in the first quarter of 2010.

However, as Peter Kafka at MediaMemo mentions, in 2009 the economy was still rearing from the recession. So the 5.6 percent drop compares to the recessionary number, which isn’t good no matter how you package it.

Still, it’s clear where even the NAA looks for growth: Online.

“Despite a highly competitive environment, online-advertising growth rebounded back into double digits, while declines in traditional revenue categories continue to moderate as the general advertising recovery progresses,” said chief executive of the NAA John Sturm, in a statement. “The fact that online now represents nearly 12% of overall newspaper advertising revenues bodes well for our medium’s future in an increasingly digital environment.”