Global Ad Revenue For Print Struggles, As Total Ad Revenue Nears $1 Trillion

According to a recent report from intelligence provider WARC, global advertising revenue for total print is projected to total $47.2 billion this year, a 7.7% drop-off from 2022. The decline follows a recent trend, as the global ad marketplace for print over the past six years, has been cut in half. Meanwhile, ad revenue growth is continuing for digital media and more recently for retail media as a marketing vehicle. In total, WARC estimates the worldwide ad marketplace to reach $993 billion this year and should surpass $1 trillion in revenue next year.

While publishers offer digital media to advertisers, the revenue has not been enough to compensate for continuing loss from legacy print ad sales. Alex Brownsell the head of content at WARC and author of the report notes, “For news brands and magazines, modest increases in digital ad revenue have been insufficient to compensate for print ad income losses.”

In its analysis, WARC cites several digital media companies that continue to siphon ad revenue away from print. For example, AmazonAMZN
recorded $37.7 billion ad revenue last year, which is 80% of what print is forecast to generate in 2023. When compared to 2022, Amazon’s ad revenue is expected to grow by 20.8% this year. It’s expected Amazon’s global ad revenue will exceed all of print in the near future.

Among other findings from the report; is the digital duopoly of Alphabet (GoogleGOOG
) and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) are projected to garner nearly $400 billion in ad revenue this year, accounting for about a 40% share of the worldwide total. Also, this year, ad revenue for traditional video, audio and out-of-home advertising will increase by only 1.6% when compared to 2016, although, since then, ad revenue has been migrating from their legacy to digital platforms. For print, the migration from legacy to digital has not been as prevalent.

It wasn’t all that long ago print had dominated global ad revenue. WARC reports in 1980 print accounted for 62.4% of all global ad spend. It was not until 2001 that television surpassed newspapers in ad revenue. In 2010 with the emergence of the digital duopoly of Google and Facebook with the advertising opportunities they provided, print still accounted for about 30% of global revenue. In addition, in 2007 the global ad revenue for print newspapers reached an all-time high of $121.4 billion, WARC estimates in 2023 the global ad revenue for newspapers will fall to $22.8 billion,

Looking ahead, the global ad revenue for print is expected to continue its downward spiral as new ad revenue opportunities emerge. For example, WARC forecasts retail media, with its enhanced data capabilities, will generate $122 billion in ad revenue this year. With the demise of cookies among other privatization matters, retail media is projected to surpass television ad revenue in 2025.

Another ad platform projected for strong global ad revenue growth will be TikTok. This year WARC projected TikTok to generate $13.2 billion, a year-over-year increase of 41.5% from $9.3 billion. Despite the robust increase, WARC expects TikTok’s revenue growth to slow down this year. Nonetheless, TikTok’s annual growth is expected to be greater than Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

Despite a dismal forecast there have been a few bright spots with print. In an interview with WARC, media analyst, Brian Morrissey, notes the digital ad revenue success of the New York TimesNYT
has been a blueprint for a sustainable and scaled news business, having seen a boost in digital subscription revenue during the Trump presidency and COVID-19.