Kubas Consultants have released the results of their survey of over 530 U.S. and Canadian newspaper executives' and managers' expectations for advertising revenues in 2010 and what strategies they have planned to meet the New Year's challenges.
'Preview 2010' found that next year is widely held to be a year of improvement in all categories of newspaper advertising revenue. It is important to note that 'improvement' here means 'declining less quickly' rather than positive growth. This is approximately the same perception expected of 2009, except that this optimism was misplaced as 2009 saw newspapers' online sales decrease.
The top strategic initiatives (show in the bar chart) predicted for 2010 were all found to be in the online sector. Improvements (i.e. making money off of) in website visitors, advertising spread, and web-based ad sales are to be integral parts of budgets next year.
Next, revamping ad pricing structures and upgrading sales technology are due for executive attention after being neglected from financial and marketing woes. Cost cuts are likely to continue, albeit at a reduced pace. Although many papers have seen positive results from slimming their staff and expenses, continuing to do so remains a primary way of controlling budgets.
Among plans not considered were outsourcing advertising and printing operations and reducing the number of publications per week.
Preview 2010 is a marked improvement over 2009's expectations, as ad revenues are projected
to increase across the board, as is shown in the graphic. Unfortunately, despite this sunnier attitude on the part of publishers, all categories except online are still at or below the 0 mark.
When ad revenue expectations are compared relatively on scale of -25% to +25%, forecasted growth is as follows: Online +15%; Retail display -0.4%; Real Estate classifieds -2.7%; Automotive display -2.8%; National display -3.4%; Employment classified -7.5%. The total average of growth is around -0.2% for all categories combined.
But this is good news as the total average growth for this year was -9%, so that's a significant increase in ad revenue expectations! This slates 2010 as 'the year at the bottom,' where the ad market bottoms out and begins its recovery.
We could even expect positive gains in 2011, as long as online revenues shore up print ad losses, as was expected for 2009 but did not occur.