US Newspapers Cautiously Optimistic Over Ad Outlook

16 December 2002

In a series of forecasts last week America’s largest newspaper publishers expressed guarded optimism over the outlook for ad revenues.

Among the publishers assessing the ad futures were:

Gannett, the nation’s biggest newspaper group. “Over the last few weeks we have seen wildly varying forecasts, from very, very robust numbers that are too optimistic to double-dip negatives that we think are too pessimistic,” declared chairman/ceo Douglas McCorkindale. “As usual, we'll plan conservatively at this point.”

New York Times Company, which anticipates a 3% to 5% rise in advertising next year. “We are cautiously optimistic about ad revenue growth in 2003,” declared senior vp–newspaper operations Janet Robinson.

Dow Jones, which in November reported the first rise in ad lineage at the Wall Street Journal for 25 months. “There are straws in the wind that lead us to be cautiously optimistic,” said chairman/ceo Peter R Kann.

Tribune, publisher of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, which predicts a mid-single-digit percentage increase in its important help-wanted advertising next year.

Washington Post Company, which revealed that its flagship title is seeing a rise in advertising by small and medium-sized firms (traditionally a conservative sector), but refused to give any predictions for next year.

Analysts tend to be less cautious. UBS Warburg rune-reader Brian Shipman predicts 3% growth in the overall newspaper ad market, attributing the industry’s hesitancy to uncertainty over the economy and possible war.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff