The pace of losses in the American newspaper and magazine publishing industry accelerated in the three months to March 31, according to data from the US Census Bureau.

Total US newspaper publishing revenues including advertising and circulation fell 4.4%, from US$6.51 billion in the first quarter of 2015 to US$6.22 billion in the first quarter of 2016. (The census figures are not broken down into separate figures for ads and circulations.) That was after a 3.8% fall in 2015 revenues, from US$28.1 billion in 2014 to US$27 billion.

US magazine publishers had total revenues fall 4.5% in the first quarter of this year from the same period in 2015 — from US$6.66 billion to US$6.36 billion. That was after a 3.7% drop in 2015 from 2014 — from US$29.4 billion to US$28.3 billion.

This data used to be issued by the Newspaper Association of America and the Publishers Information Bureau (broken down into data for ad revenues by type and newspaper and magazine sales). But both stopped publicising this data three years ago.

The first quarter falls in revenue underlines that nothing is growing for newspaper and magazine publishers, especially digital ad and circulation revenues, or rather not growing fast enough to offset the slide in analogue print ads and sales revenues.

Pew Research reported earlier this month that American newspaper publishers’ digital ad revenues also fell 2% last year. But the wider internet ad business grew more than 20% last year to nearly US$60 billion.

The Census Bureau data showed that radio and TV revenues rose 4.5% in the March quarter of this year — to US$17.546 billion from US$16.819 billion in the first quarter of 2015. Cable TV revenues jumped 6.8% in the same period, to US$19.76 billion from $18.26 billion.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey