Study: Online ad prices plunged 27% this year

My new income scheme gives you an inside peek at the financial realities of 21st century journalism. Now, a new study shows just how tough those realities have become for fledgling journalists like me — and for established giants like Gannett.

Web ad prices fell 27% in the past year, according to the new PubMatic analysis released today, on a rising inventory of digital pages for sale. “As newspapers keep adding pages, they are forced to sell ads at cut-rate prices,” The New York Times reported earlier this week.

Competition for Gannett customer ad dollars is more fierce than ever: We’ll see just how much in the upcoming monthly revenue report, for September, which GCI could publish in the next week or so. It will likely show more losses in newspaper ad sales, following August’s 17% plunge.

As Gannett scales back news gathering, and independent journalist-bloggers struggle to generate enough income to survive, tremendous uncertainty looms ahead. I keep coming back to that $64,000 question: “What happens to the huge gap between when newspapers regress and purge thousands of journalists and when blogs like yours become successful businesses that can support their owners and/or staff?”

In my case, for example, I’ve earned $886 since starting my campaign to earn $6,000 quarterly from this blog, through advertising and voluntary subscription fees. But barely 20% of that has come from ad sales. Without your subscriptions, I’d be even more behind.

To buy a $5 subscription, please use the “Donate” tool in the green sidebar, upper right. Any amount appreciated! Post feedback in the comments section, below. Send e-mail to gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com].

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