Media Industry Reports Are Releasing Less Data on Print Ad Revenue & Employee Head Counts
The last decade has seen a steady erosion in the number of media industry benchmark reports — at least those made publicly available to trade reporters and bloggers — leaving less reliable, third-party data by which to gauge the overall health of the media business.
The Publisher’s Information Bureau, which long provided quarterly and annual figures on print advertising pages and rate card revenue for magazine titles, stopped providing this data in favor of a digital audience report – which doesn’t include any information on ad revenue – in 2014.
The Newspaper Association of America, now the News Media Alliance, stopped reporting quarterly revenue figures in 2013, followed by annual figures in 2015. And the Radio Advertising Bureau jettisoned its quarterly reports on radio ad revenue in 2015, nixing annual reports soon after.
The motivation for all these decisions was not hard to deduce. In the face of long-term secular declines in the traditional media business, what was the point of publicizing each new wave of bad news, especially for trade organizations whose raison d’etre is boosterism, not emphasizing doom and gloom?