Circulation revenue for U.S. newspapers grew for the second consecutive year, rising 3.7% to $10.87 billion in 2013, according to preliminary data from the Newspaper Association of America.
However, that wasn’t enough to offset continuing deterioration in the advertising business. Total revenues for the industry were $37.59 billion, off 2.6% from 2012. The good news is that the rate of decline appears to be slowing. The bad news is that digital advertising is growing more slowly for newspapers than it is for the industry as a whole. The U.S. online ad market grew by 17% year-over-year in 2013, but newspapers’ digital ad revenues increased by just 1.5%. Digital advertising now accounts for 12% of total industry revenue. It’s not clear how native advertising is being factored into those numbers.
Incidentally, online ad spending surpassed broadcast TV revenue for the first time last year, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
An interesting new area of growth is digital agency marketing services, in which media companies help local businesses build a digital marketing presence through services like online advertising and direct mail. That business grew 43% last year, although from a very small base.
Declines in traditional print advertising continued their numbing downward trend, falling 8.6% from the previous year. Classified advertising was off 10.5%.
An interesting factor in circulation revenue growth is the success of digital-only circulation revenue, which was up 47%. Bundled print and digital circulation packages increased 108%. However, print-only circulation revenue dropped 20%.