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Newspapers weathering dramatic drop in automobile advertising

And now, a word from our sponsors. Because at Autoblog, we've got plenty of 'em-- they positively litter the joint. Newspapers? Increasingly... not so much.

Automobile-related advertising in newspapers has been declining for the last couple of years, and many indicators seem to... well, indicate that the entire practice is on the cusp of a major downturn. Several major syndicates last month reported a drop of more than 15% in December alone, and the effect is taking hold nationwide.

So, what gives? Well, for starters, companies like, Craigslist, and eBay, all of which funnel away an exponentially increasing amount of consumer advertising dollars to the Internet. Automakers have been in the vanguard of this trend, as well-- flashy yet content-laden websites, 'mini films', banner ads and online event sponsorships are becoming increasingly commonplace. And because car ads traditionally account for about a third of the newspaper industry's total advertising revenue, the entire ink-on-the-fingers business model is under threat, cars or otherwise. Beyond online car-selling services, experts also note that increasingly prosperous Asian automakers have proven to be less inclined to spend money on advertising than their domestic counterparts, particularly where newspapers are concerned. With major dailies shedding jobs by the dozens or shuttering outright with alarming frequency, newspapers are seeking out other forms of advertising, including launching or buying their own automobile-selling websites.

While the Internet may prove an easier and more informative mechanism through which consumers can shop for a vehicle, there's still something deeply satisfying about grabbing the Sunday Gazette and scanning the grainy, smudged classifieds for tomorrow's bargain classic. Just ask any Hemmings subscriber.

[Source: The Wall Street Journal]

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