When times are bad, one of the first belt-tightening measures for many companies is slashing advertising budgets. Conversely, when a rebound seems near, you can expect ad spending to pick up. And thus it's interesting to look at recent earnings reports from the nation's largest newspaper publishers.
Aside from the political spending, CEO Douglas McCorkindale indicated advertising was beginning to rebound across the board for Gannett's higher-rated television stations. On the newspaper side, local ad spending was up 3%, but national classified sales dropped 2%. And, if USA Today is any indication, some of the hardest-hit sectors aren't yet seeing daylight. The paper's third-quarter results "continue to reflect, in part, lower demand for financial and technology-related advertising."
In summary, it appears smaller, localized businesses are beginning to accelerate ad spending, along with retailers and auto makers nationally. But while these areas see better times ahead, most of the tech and financial sectors don't, and are maintaining defensive postures.