ARLINGTON, Virginia: US newspaper advertising revenues continue to take a pounding as recession tightens its grip upon the industry as well as the nation at large.

Third quarter figures, just released by the Newspaper Association of America, point to an 18.1% year-on-year slump in ad revenues – equivalent to almost $2 billion (€1.58bn; £1.35bn).

The decline in the quarter to September 30 is the steepest since NAA records began. It also underscores the increasing deceleration in spend since Q3 in 2006, when slippage was a mere 1.5%.

Total spend for the latest quarter was $8.94bn compared with $10.92bn in the year-ago period. Not since the first quarter of 1996 have ad revenues fallen below $9bn.

Newspapers' online ad income was less affected (down 3% to $749.8m) than print revenues which fell by 19.3% from $10.15bn to $8.19bn.

But online's current performance compares ill with the ongoing double-digit growth it enjoyed between 2004-2007.

Data sourced from Business Week (online); additional content by WARC staff