The Newspaper Death Spiral is accelerating: Classified Ads Down 31% Q3

Newspaper advertising took a 19.26% fall in the third quarter of 2008 off the back of the hemorrhaging classified market.

The 19.26% overall fall is worse than the previous record of a 16.07% drop in the second quarter of 2008 (we previously reported 14%, so the figure may have been revised).

Driving the rapid fall in newspaper advertising is the coming death of the classified market, which saw a 30.85% fall, driven by recruitment classified sales dropping 43.6% to $497.5 million, real estate classifieds down 38.6% to $629.3 million, and automotive down 29.2% to $563 million.

National and Retail advertising dropped 18.42% and 11.72% respectively.

Online offered more bad news, dropping 3% year on year.

The interesting part with the stats is the decline coming in a quarter that should have had a boost due to election advertising. National advertising over the last three election cycles (for the third quarter) increased sales by 18% (96), 14.5% (00) and 8.24% (04).

Full figures are available from the Newspaper Association of America here and Alan Mutter has more here.