The death of print advertising

An interesting graphic in the Atlantic charts the dramatic decline in print advertising from the late 1990s to 2011.

The accompanying article argues that this helps to explain the decline in newspaper circulation, since papers rely on a cross-subsidy from ads in the car/style/travel sections and the classifieds to pay for their major news coverage. But ad dollars started flowing to websites that gave consumers their car, style, travel, or classified ads directly, and the readers followed.

ABC circulation data has shown that, in the UK, newspaper circulation has been falling steadily since the late 1980s, long predating mass take-up of the internet. Clearly there must be additional drivers to this decline; perhaps there is a cohort effect at play, where younger generations are just not reading newspapers in the numbers they once were.

I would expect print advertising to decline further as new technologies, e.g., tablet computers, provide alternative platforms for advertising spending.





  1. Erin Bell Erin Bell says:

    What advertisers have taken out of your physical mailbox, they’ve put in your digital one. Here’s an article on how different retailers are approaching email marketing:
    Some are seeing an increase in click-through as a result of cutting back on the amount of email they send or limiting their correspondence to customized notes.

  2. I am a media buyer specializing in print publications. If there is one benefit of the decline of print it is to the advertisers. We get cheaper rates than ever for quality readership. As publications lower their rates to entice advertisers to run in their print products, we are able to purchase much more circulation and run more frequently than in the past. It really is a buyers market!


  1. [...] an earlier post it was suggested that new technologies, such as tablet computers, could provide alternative [...]

Leave your response

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

  • FutureProof

    Our quarterly FutureProof newsletter provides you with informative think pieces and thought-provoking news and views from The Futures Company employees and offices around the world.


  • Trend & Tonic


    31 October 2014

    Post author: Jack Wimmer

    Back in May, a series of photos of President Obama shaking hands with a man wearing a hors ...

  • Futures Blog

    Wondering about the iWatch

    15 September 2014

    Andrew Curry writes: In the unlikely event that you missed it, Apple made a couple of announcements at its annual convent ...

  • Twitter