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Newspapers' print advertising increased by only 1.6 percent year-over-year in the third quarter, while online advertising jumped 26.7 percent, a trade group said.
Spending for print ads totaled $11.4 billion in the quarter, the Newspaper Association of America said. Ad spending online remained a small percentage of the total advertising spend, reaching $518.9 million.
Nevertheless, growth in online ads far outpaced print advertising. Online advertising has grown in popularity as advertisers develop better marketing techniques to target particular groups of consumers.
"We anticipate even greater gains in online as newspapers continue to rank at the top of the most visited online news sources in the nation,” John F. Sturm, president and chief executive of NAA, said in a statement.
Indeed, newspaper Web site traffic grew by 11 percent year-over-year in October to 39.3 million unique visitors, indicating that the traditional media was doing well on the Internet, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.
The research followed on the heels of a recent report by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, which found a six-month decline in the average weekday print circulation among the top 20 U.S. newspapers.
For the first nine months of the year, total print and online ad spending totaled $35.1 billion, an increase of 2.9 percent over the same period a year ago, the Newspaper Association said.