The impact of advertising churn on newspaper revenue growth

Perry Williams
Bruce Bell and Associates, Inc.

In late 1997, I was a member of the management team at a major metropolitan newspaper. The senior vice president of advertising asked me to help him gain insight into why the advertising department was having difficulty meeting its monthly revenue forecasts. While 1996 had been a banner advertising revenue year for the newspaper, the 1997 goal for advertising revenue was becoming more difficult to achieve.

With my background in sales, marketing and advertising research, operations and product development, and with almost 20 years in the newspaper industry at that time, I welcomed the opportunity to help the advertising department grow the business and increase advertising revenue. Advertising churn was not something that we had identified or even expected to investigate, but it was an important by-product of trying to explain why we were not meeting our advertising revenue projections. From all other indicators, the newspaper was doing everything possible to get the results we had enjoyed in the past.