Just piling up the bad news for newspapers this week:
* Newspaper circulation continues to clog: “Industry sources who have seen the numbers tell E&P they anticipate that for the six months ending September 2006, top-line daily circulation will fall roughly 2.5% while Sunday will drop approximately 3%.”
* Newspaper advertising is declining: “Earnings from three big newspaper companies — Tribune Co., New York Times Co. and Belo Corp. — provided more dramatic evidence that print-advertising revenues have gone into decline after a long period of low growth. All three posted lower newspaper-advertising revenue in the third quarter compared with the year-earlier period, echoing results from most of the companies in the industry that have reported earnings in recent days. . . . Results in recent days have reinforced gloomy predictions coming from some analysts. Last week, Merrill Lynch cut its newspaper-ad revenue forecast for this year to flat from 1.2% growth and revised its 2007 forecast to a drop of 1.5%.”
* Those who thought they were saved from conglomerates and profit margins when they were bought by local owners were fooling themselves. Those papers are laying off: “The new owners of three former Knight Ridder newspapers announced layoffs, expected layoffs and abrupt changes in management yesterday as they painted a bleak outlook for the newspaper industry. . . ‘Newspaper publishers and owners across the country are saying that this has been the worst 90-day stretch that they have ever seen in the business,’ Mr. Tierney wrote. ‘They also universally believe that this reduced revenue picture will be a permanent part of the future of newspapers.’ ”
* There’s upheaval all over: NBC News cuts back. The Chicago Sun-Times appears to be for sale. The Toronto Star ousted its editor and publisher. Liberation’s future in France is in question.
That’s just one week.