This chart by economist Mark J. Perry says it all:
And some quotes from his accompanying article for the American Enterprise Institute’ Carpe Diem blog:
It took a half century for annual newspaper print ad revenue to gradually increase from $20 billion in 1950 (adjusted for inflation in 2013 dollars) to $65.8 billion in 2000, and then it took only 12 years to go from $65.8 billion in ad revenues back to less than $20 billion in 2012, before falling further to $17.3 billion last year.
And digital and other niche and non-traditional revenue sources aren’t going to save the industry either:
…digital advertising increased only 1.5% last year, the niche/non-daily category fell by almost 6% and direct marketing increased only 2.4%. Print advertising fell last year by 8.6%, and overall total advertising revenue fell by 6.5%. Those new revenues sources are certainly helping to stop the revenue decline from being even steeper, but won’t likely ever be high enough to reverse the precipitous overall decline in ad revenues in the coming years.