This just in: Newspaper ad revenue plunge below 2001 levels

Editor & Publisher just posted NAA news that as revenues for newspaper–we’re talking print here–have dropped below the lowest levels of the 2001 bust.
Data points from the E&P story:

  • Online revenue now represents 7.5% of total newspaper ad revenue in 2007 compared to 5.7% in 2006.
  • Total print advertising revenue in 2007 dropped 9.4% to $42 billion compared to 2006 — the greatest decline since the association started measuring advertising expenditures in 1950.
  • The drop-off points to an economic slowdown on top of the secular challenges faced by the industry. The second worst decline in advertising revenue occurred in 2001 when it fell 9.0%.
  • Total advertising revenue in 2007 — including online revenue — decreased 7.9% to $45.3 billion compared to the prior year.

Susan sez: Is there any way news organizations won’t have accelerating layoffs? This seems like another nail in the coffin.
Question: How does the collapse of print revenue models–and those good profit margins–affect newspapers’ ability to maintain their core value as investigative news entities as they try to move online? I suspect that we’ll see more independent networks for harder news topics spriniging up as news orgs cut back.
Update: Here’s data on how the Microsoft brand is dropping as well, via ITWorld:
According to the CoreBrand Power 100 2007 study, which polled about 12,000 U.S. business decision-makers, Microsoft dropped from number 12 in the ranking of the most powerful U.S. company brands in 2004 to number 59 last year. In 1996, the company ranked number 1 in brand power among 1,200 top companies in about 50 industries, said James Gregory, CEO of CoreBrand.”