Online advertisement sales in U.S. set to eclipse print ad revenue this year

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  • October 19, 2012

By Zach Dyer

For the first time ever, online advertising revenue is set to eclipse print ad sales in the United States by the end of 2012, Poynter reported on its website Thursday, Oct. 18. Climbing online ad sales will likely not lend a hand to struggling legacy media, however.

Citing research from Technology Review, Poynter wrote that Internet ad sales will likely—if they have not already—surpass the $35.8 billion in print advertisements newspapers and magazine took in in 2011.

Rising online ad sales offer little condolence for print media trying to transition online. The convergence in ad sales has more to do with plummeting print ad revenue than exponential growth in online advertising sales, reported the journalism news website. According to Technology Review’s research, most of the increase in online ad sales goes to companies like Facebook or Google, not news organizations.

Poynter’s Rick Edmond reported on Sept. 10, that newspapers lost $25 for every $1 they took in from online advertising in the first half of 2012.

News of the tipping point in online ad sales came on the same day that Newsweek magazine announced it was abandoning its print edition on Dec. 31, 2012, for an all-digital strategy.

In the twilight of print, publications wrangle over how to survive in the new media landscape. The Dallas Morning News and others have shifted to paywalls and away from a heavy reliance on advertisers while others, like the Orange County Register, are doubling down on their print editions.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.