As Advance publications began dropping print frequency and betting its newspapers’ future on digital ad sales five years ago, part of the premise was that print advertising would only continue to decline — and by a lot, not a little.
Correct. But the industry’s particularly nasty level of print losses in the first half of 2015 have nipped financial results at Advance along with the rest. In his latest biannual letter to employees, Advance Local President Randy Siegel backed off his claim of six months ago that digital ad gains this year will surpass print losses.
He concedes in the letter that newspaper declines have been “steeper than we budgeted for.” Siegel told me in a phone interview that the goal for growing ad revenue overall remains and some of Advance’s 25 markets will experience the revenue crossover, but added “I can’t guarantee that we will get it done in all of them.”
In the letter, dated July 15, Siegel continues:
The proverbial “silver lining” here is that as more of our readers and advertisers transition to digital platforms and products, we are better positioned than ever to meet their diverse needs.