Maybe I should set up a psychic storefront. Just as I predicted in an August 17th column, the Los Angeles Times has suffered a sharp dip in movie advertising sales. That admission came April 13 from the newspaper’s parent Tribune Co. when it held a teleconference about 2006 first quarter earnings results. Tribune bosses confessed that, in the national category, “most” of Tribune’s ad sales shortfall “came at the Los Angeles Times, and over half of their decline was due to movie advertising, which as you know is very significant in Los Angeles.”
Boy, do I feel vindicated. Because David Garcia, the LAT‘s director of media relations, tried his best back in August to refute my story to the industry newspaper Editor & Publisher. In that column, I reported that Hollywood was starting to tell newsosaurs like the LAT to drop dead, that every major movie studio was rethinking its big display ad buys in that paper and others, and that at least two Hollywood movie studios had decided already to drastically cut their newspaper display ads as soon as possible. (Now, I can tell you, at least four movie studios are slashing away.) I explained that the moguls thought it was insane to waste their dough on the LAT and other newsosaurs whose readers are older and elitist compared to younger, low-brow filmgoers. What do you have to say now, Garcia? That Scary Movie 4 bowed to the biggest Easter weekend ever — $41 mil — because all those Generation M’ers (aka media-savvy 8 to 18 year olds) saw the ads for it in the LAT?
Also in that teleconference, the Tribune bosses did note that, excluding movies, the LAT ad revenue was “up slightly [and] in many cases it outperformed or was in line with the rest of our newspaper group in the first quarter.” Ah, so that’s why the LAT has just gone through another advertising chief, as LAObserved.com reported.