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Australian newspapers buck international trend of revenue falls

SYDNEY - Ad revenue within Australia's newspaper market remained fairly steady in 2008, defying trends in key international markets, including the UK, where ad revenue fell by 12% and the US, where it fell by 17.7%.

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The combined ad revenue of all newspapers in Australia declined by just 0.6% during 2008, according to industry body The Newspaper Works.

Key newspaper ad revenue categories actually grew, including national, up by 1.3%, retail up by 2.1% and magazines up by 5.1%.

In the classifieds ad revenue category, real estate grew by 1.5% and general rose 2.6% in difficult conditions.

Employment classifieds reflected the prevailing economic conditions and declined by 12.3% as companies cut back on recruitment.

Tony Hale, chief executive of The Newspaper Works, said: "Newspapers have delivered a much stronger result in 2008 than many would have expected. This is a great vote of confidence by advertisers in the future of newspapers.

"All sectors have performed strongly, with national and retail advertising defying negative predictions given the economic downturn, reduced government expenditure and the impact of the Olympic Games.

"Classified revenue reflects the prevailing economic conditions. Employment revenue has followed similar trends to online classifieds as the job market has dried up. This will pick up again when the economy improves.

"This year will be tough for all media, however, we expect national, retail and magazine newspaper advertising to remain solid."

The ad revenue figures were provided to The Newspaper Works by each of its shareholders, including regional publisher APN News & Media, News Corporation's News Limited, publisher of The Australian, Fairfax Media, publisher of The Sydney Morning Herald, and West Australian Newspapers, publisher of The West Australian.

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