In their August publishing outlook, the oft-cited FTI Consulting shared the following:

Print advertising outlook remains challenging and the rebound has been slow to date. Furthermore, early signs indicate that the summer spike in COVID cases may cause a reversal in the advertising rebound.

The July forecasts provided by the industry publishers shows a slight decline from June actuals. 

Within print advertising, FSI (free-standing inserts) preprints have experienced steeper declines than ROP advertising, and digital advertising appears to be rebounding faster than print, demonstrating a similar pattern seen after the Great Recession in 2008–2009.

Digital subscriber revenue continues to be a bright spot for publishers and grew slightly more than FTI expected in its previous model. 

Based on the Q2 results and July forecast, FTI developed two updated forecasts: 

• “U” Case based on a slower [U-shaped] recovery reaching a deeper low point with the recovery impact not beginning until 2021. FTI considers this casea more likely scenario.

• “V” Casebased on faster [V-shaped] recovery beginning in Q3 2020 and continuing to improve in Q4 2020. This can be considereda best-case scenario. 

Considering a blended scenario, FTI’s view is that digital advertising may perform closer to the “V” case and legacy print-related advertising revenues closer to the “U” case. 

• Two journalism-focused bills are sitting up on Capitol Hill. The Local Journalism Sustainability Act, introduced on July 16, is a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by U.S. Representatives Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Arizona) and Dan Newhouse (R-Washington). 

The legislation provides for tax credits for subscribing to a local paper, payroll credit for paying journalists who provide local news and tax credits for advertising in local papers and local media. 

America’s Newspapers, the News Media Alliance and National Newspaper Association are applauding the bill. 

News & Tech asked America’s Newspapers CEO Dean Ridings, who champions the bill, for an update. “This bill is doing well as we now have more than fifty bipartisan cosponsors, and we expect more to sign on. While it may be difficult to pass HR 7640 in the current session, the growing support for the tenets of the bill give it a good chance to see light in the next congress or to be included in a future relief bill,” says Ridings. 

The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, introduced in April 2019 by House Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island) and Doug Collins (R-Georgia), is a bipartisan bill that would provide a limited safe harbor for news publishers to collectively negotiate with Facebook, Google and other platforms for better business arrangements. 

A bipartisan companion bill was also introduced by Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-Louisiana) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota). 

“The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act has until the end of the year to pass the 116th Congress, and we need our representatives to act now to support journalism’s future,” wrote News Media Alliance CEO David Chavern in a recent commentary in The Washington Post.

Issues highlighted by the bill came up in a July hearing in which the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google testified before the House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee on Antitrust as part of the subcommittee’s investigation into alleged anticompetitive practices of online platforms. 

The last action listed for the bill on the House website said it was referred in May 2019 to the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law. The last action in the Senate was the bill’s introduction in June.