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June 18, 2007 / Toby Dayton

Media General’s Newspapers Getting Clobbered By Classified Free Fall

Media General, owner of Tampa Tribune, The Richmond Times, and the Winston-Salem Journal, reported that its classified business, including help-wanted, real estate, and autos, fell 17% in May. Recruitment classified revenue in its 3 metro papers dropped 28%, with the biggest decline of 41% occurring in Tampa. Real estate classifieds fell by 25% and auto classifieds by 19%. While daily newspapers throughout the country are seeing tremendous deterioration in their classified business, these declines are among the worst of any major publisher (The New York Times reported that its classified business was down 13% in May and 12% for the year). Overall, Tampa saw declines in its classified advertising revenue of 38% across all 3 categories. General advertising also declined substantially due to a weakened housing market, cut-backs in advertising by major retailers, and a slowdown in the home improvement market. With huge declines like these, perhaps Minneapolis won’t be the first major U.S. city to lose its daily paper. At the very least, Tampa appears to be giving the Star Tribune a run for its money.

[tags]Decline of the Daily Papers, Publishing, Media, Classified Advertising, Recruitment Advertising, Tampa Tribune, Winston-Salem Journal, Media General, Richmond Times, Star Tribune[/tags]