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Newspaper publishers experienced a single-year decline in total revenue of 8.3 percent -- from $47.9 billion in 2007 to $43.9 billion in 2008. This followed a more modest decline of 2.7 percent in 2007, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today.
A major contributor to the overall loss in revenues for the industry was the decline in advertising space revenue for general newspapers, which dropped 10.2 percent -- from $30.9 billion in 2007 to $27.8 billion in 2008. Revenue from newspaper subscriptions remained largely unchanged over the period, from $8.3 billion in 2007 to $8.2 billion in 2008.
These estimates come from the 2008 Service Annual Survey: Information Sector Services. The survey provides national estimates of annual revenue and expenses for industries primarily engaged in producing, processing and distributing data, which range from motion picture production to libraries.
"When we measure information as a commodity, it allows us to track trends in various industries, such as newspaper publishers, motion picture and sound recording industries, and radio and television broadcasting, that produce and distribute information as the source of their revenue," said Mark Wallace, chief of the Service Sector Statistics Division at the U.S. Census Bureau. "Businesses can then use these data to examine market share, evaluate business potential and plan their investment strategies."
Audio stations saw a 6.7 percent decline in revenues in 2008 -- from $13.6 billion to $12.7 billion -- a decrease from the relatively flat levels observed since 2005. Local radio station air time revenue for broadcasting advertising and program content (commercials, infomercials, real estate listings and sponsorships) fell 9.5 percent -- from $9.0 billion in 2007 to $8.1 billion in 2008.
Cable and other subscription programming, such as producing and broadcasting television programs for cable and satellite television systems, continued to see increased revenues, climbing from $40.9 billion in 2007 to $45.1 billion in 2008 -- an 10.1 percent increase.
Over the same period, Internet publishing and broadcasting revenues grew 19.8 percent from $16.7 billion to $20 billion, spurred in part by the increase in revenue from one of its sources, publishing and broadcasting of Internet content, which increased 19.6 percent -- from $8.7 billion in 2007 to $10.4 billion in 2008.
Summary data (total revenue and total expenses) are provided at the sector, subsector and industry group level for the survey year and past years. Detailed expense data are published for select sectors and subsectors. Industry specific data, such as product line and detailed revenue (source of funding), are provided for selected industries.
The information sector is classified under the North American Industry Classification System as NAICS 51.