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More Discouraging News About Newspapers

Yesterday a bunch of newspaper companies gave presentations to investors at an annual confab sponsored by UBS.

The news, as you might expect, was not particularly heartening, but perhaps the most revealing factoid was buried in this story by the Associated Press?Seth Sutel:

Chris Hendricks, McClatchy's head of online operations, called the company's 0.8 percent growth in online ad revenue in the year-to-date period through October "disappointing," but said McClatchy was optimistic about converting more of its online traffic into ad dollars next year.

One of the biggest newspaper companies can only increase its online ad take 0.8 percent, at a time in which the overall online ad market is growing exponentially faster? (PriceWaterhouseCoopers reports that for the first half of the year, the online ad market grew 26.4%.)

That says a few things about how well that company's Web sites, and major newspapers Web sites in general, are doing. And none of those things are good.

(Relatedly: Alan Mutter on the "growth gap" that newspapers' Web sites face.)

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