New revenue figures show that Australia has been outperforming the UK and US in newspaper advertising revenue.

The combined revenue of all newspapers in Australia declined by just 0.6% during 2008, despite the nation’s economic volatility.

Key newspaper advertising revenue categories grew strongly, including national up by 1.3%, retail up by 2.1% and magazines up by 5.1%, a trend not repeated by newspapers in any of the key developed markets around the world.

In the classifieds ad revenue category, real estate grew by 1.5% and general rose 2.6% in difficult conditions.

Employment classifieds reflected the prevailing economic conditions, particularly as companies cut back on their hiring intentions. This category declined by 12.3%, but is expected to recover following this cyclical decline.

Employment classifieds represent less than 10% of total newspaper revenue (including circulation revenue).

While advertising revenue in Australia remained stable, contracting by just 0.6% in 2008, the UK fell by 12%, and figures just released for the US reveal a 17.7% drop.

Australia also enjoys the highest share of global ad revenues at 35%, compared to the global newspaper share of 28%.

“These figures prove yet again the robust state of the Australian newspaper sector. The US and UK could only dream of such results. The quality of our papers and penetration into our markets is unrivalled which helps us to weather even the toughest economic climate,” says The Newspaper Works CEO, Tony Hale.

“This year will be tough for all media, however, we expect national, retail and magazine newspaper advertising to remain solid.”

Advertising revenue figures have been provided to The Newspaper Works by each of its shareholders, including News Ltd, Fairfax Media, APN News & Media and West Australian Newspapers. Each publisher completed a template for 2007 and 2008 ad revenue figures.

“Newspapers have delivered a much stronger result in 2008 than many would have expected. This is a great vote of confidence by advertisers in the future of newspapers,” asserts Hale.