New ad spending forecasts undermine hopes for newspaper and magazine recovery

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Almost every category of media has been hit by the downturn in advertising spending, but print media has been hit hardest of all. Many large weekly and bi-weekly magazines like Forbes and Entertainment Weekly are suffering from significant double-digit drops in ad pages.

Newspapers, in most cases, are not doing any better than last year. Several large papers have folded or sharply cut staff. Gannett's (GCI) earnings, which will be out later this week, should show if the problem is getting even worse.

One of the premier forecasters of advertising trends reports that spending by marketers is worse than it had figured earlier in the year. According toThe Wall Street Journal, Zenith Optimedia "now predicts global ad spending will sink 6.9 percent to $453.2 billion, while U.S. ad outlays will drop 8.7 percent to $156.9 billion." The new statistics are based on observations from the last two quarters.

The news is particularly hard for print media because it has had so little success in moving its content to the internet and building a large revenue base in online advertising.

Newspapers and magazines may be suffering now, but hopes that the situation will be better in the second half of the year are disappearing.

Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.

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