As he is wont to do, Alan Mutter, The Newsosaur, just rained on what little parade the Newspaper Association of America has to offer right now: A projection of revenue falloff of “only” 5.5% for 2008.
Mutter presents a credible anecdotal argument that any such projections are made of air, given the current swoon of the U.S. economy.
Fortunately, he didn’t take a peek back at the NAA’s 2008 projections, made back in December 2008. If he did, he’d be in an even worse mood:
Newspaper Association of America Business Analyst Jim Conaghan expects advertising revenue to decline only 1.2 percent in 2008, compared to 7 percent this year. That is to say that online revenue growth, which he predicts at 22 percent, will not quite cover continued losses of revenue from classifieds.
2008 Prediction: 1.2% down
2008 Actual: 11.5% down
2009 Prediction: 5.5% down
2009 Actual: Stay tuned, and buckle up
I’m still bullish on newspaper companies figuring out ways to grow the business in 2009, but the last place I’d look for reliable predictive data is the NAA.