ARLINGTON, Virginia: US newspapers' online advertising revenues fell 2.4% year on year in the second quarter of 2008, according to the Newspaper Association of America, the first decline since the industry body began measuring internet adspend in 2003.

Total newspaper online advertising revenue is now valued at $777 million (€571m; £450m), and had recorded seventeen consecutive quarters of growth until the second quarter of this year.

The Tribune Company – owner of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune – saw its revenues fall by 4% in Q2, with Lee Enterprises, the publisher of over fifty daily titles, also down 9%.

Fellow media groups AH Belo (–12%) and EW Scripps (–8%) also saw figures slide into the red, while Gannett – the parent company of USA Today, among others – posted a modest rise of 3%.

By contrast, McClatchy enjoyed year-on-year growth of 12.5%, and the New York Times Company registered an overall advertising revenue increase of 13% across its various web portals.

The overall decline is attributed to the impact of the economic downturn on advertiser budgets, and the shift of classified advertising to other web properties.

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff