Monthly stats: Not as bad as I feared

The housing meltdown continued to pummell Gannett in August, the company said yesterday in its monthly statistical report. Newspaper advertising revenue fell 6% from August 2006 — a slight improvement over July’s loss.

I’m slightly encouraged: I had feared that August’s drop would be much worse, given accelerating troubles in the real estate market. The decline was led by a 9.5% drop in classified ad revenue, with real estate ads down 15.5%; employment down 11.9%, and auto off 10.5%. Worrisome, though, is that real estate and employment fared worse than in July’s report. Classified continues to feel the heat from Craigslist, Monster and others.

USA Today bounced back during August, GCI said, posting a 6.9% jump in ad revenues — a big improvement over the previous month’s performance. Still, as the chart (above) reflects, USA Today‘s revenue has been very choppy so far this year. The chart shows the change in newspaper advertising revenue from the year-ago period, based on GCI’s monthly statistical reports. As always, I’m breaking out USA Today‘s figures because it’s the only paper for which GCI gives specific data.

GCI released August’s data after stock markets had closed. This morning, investors’ response so far is fairly muted: Shares are down only a bit.

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