Newspaper ad revenues slow

NEW YORK: Newspaper ad revenue reached $30.9 billion for the first three quarters of 1998, a 5.6% increase over the same period last year.

NEW YORK: Newspaper ad revenue reached $30.9 billion for the first three quarters of 1998, a 5.6% increase over the same period last year.

Industry figures released by the trade body, the Newspaper Association of America, showed the third quarter up 3.4% over the same period last year. Growth, however, has slowed with previous quarters up more significantly.

Salomon Smith Barney analyst, William Bird, said the slowdown was a reflection of the economy. 'The figures relate to a decelerating economy. GDP is very tightly related to newspaper ad growth.'

However, NAA chief executive John Sturm said that annual projections are on target at 6% growth, despite the economic slowdown and the effects of the Russian ruble's devaluation.

The brokerage firm predicts the figures will be lower than expected, however. Bird said: 'We believe that the full year will be lighter than the NAA figures. Our estimates put it at 5.5% rather than 6%.'

Separately, the New York Times Company released statistics which showed ad volume (column inches) had risen 4.1% for the month of October compared with the same period last year. Ad revenue grew 3.5% in the third quarter.

While newspapers are experiencing a softer third quarter, local radio station ad revenue surged 15% in September, according to the Radio Advertising Bureau. Figures for October are due out next week.

When comparing this year with last year, radio revenues are up 11% for the first 39 weeks of 1998. The RAB doesn't release actual figures though.

The growth is attributed to an increasing maturity in the radio sector as a result of recent consolidation. US radio is now dominated by a handful of publicly traded companies such as CBS and Chancellor.

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