September 23, 2014 Last Updated 12:07 pm

Moody’s paints a bleak picture for newspapers and magazines in the U.S.

The credit ratings service Moody’s has published a bleak report on the near future of the U.S. newspaper and magazine publishing industries, predicting negative growth through mid-2015.

“Our outlook for the US Newspapers and Magazines sector is negative,” the report concludes. “This outlook reflects our expectations for the fundamental business conditions in the industry per the next 12 to 18 months.”

Moody’s predicts that both the newspaper and magazine industries will continue to see declining ad revenue as readers continue to shift from print to digital platforms. Moody’s also predicts that the “recent wave of publishing spin-offs and divestitures” will continue and lead to more consolidation. (Here I disagree with Moody’s as there are few big publishers today looking to acquire properties, this is leading to private equity firms stepping in.)

Probably most depressing, though, is that Moody’s sees the growth in digital subscriptions will “plateau”, as the company points to both the NYT and McClatchy of examples of digital reader growth slowing.


Moody’s sees publishers continuing to cut costs and outsourcing content creation in an attempt to offset spending on new revenue streams.

Moody’s report states that they believe magazine publishers have an advantage over newspaper publishers due to their more targeted audiences. But Moody’s report predicts that magazines will over hold a 5 percent share of overall ad spending by 2016, down from 9 percent in 2004.

The fall in the share of advertising for newspapers is greater, however. Moody’s predicts that by 2016 newspaper will only hold a 7 percent share of all ad dollars spent, down from its 25 percent share in 2004.

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