Saturday, May 23, 2009

Pew Study: Classified Revenue Losing Ground Fast to Online Advertising

Newspaper classified revenue has dropped about 50 percent since 2000 while the number of online adults who have used online classifieds has more than doubled in the past four years, the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project survey found.

The April survey reports that 49 percent of Internet users say they have used online classified sites, compared with 22 percent of online adults who had done so in 2005.

Annual revenue for newspapers from classified advertising in 2000 was more than $19.608 billion, but in 2008 it was $9.975 billion, the study found. That represents a 49 percent drop, as represented by the Pew chart above.

The survey also said that on any given day about a tenth of Internet users visit online classified sites, up from 4 percent in 2005.

This data should make all publishers concerned. It may be that Google isn't the only culprit in the demise of print newspapers after all. Classified advertising has long been the lifeblood of print newspapers. The ideas of restricting newspaper website to subscribers could be a short-term fix. But if it classified revenue continues to dwindle, and there's nothing to suggest the bleeding will stop any time soon, it will be tough for newspapers to survive in any form.

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