Obituaries help keep local newspapers afloat

In total, about $500 million in total annual revenue comes from obituaries, according to Adpay.
/Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

By Sara Fischer and Alison Snyder | Axios

Local newspapers still heavily rely on obituary placements for revenue, according to data from local obituary and advertising placement firm Adpay, which is owned by Ancestry.com.

Why it matters: Obits, alongside public notice ads, are one of the last remaining consistent revenue streams that local newspapers rely on, although both are being challenged by the digital age.

RELATED: The final ripoff: Paid obituaries by Phil Riske, Rose Law Group senior reporter/writer

By the numbers: In total, about $500 million in total annual revenue comes from obituaries, according to Adpay. There are more than a million paid obituaries created annually. For context, the newspaper market in the U.S. brings in roughly $25 billion in advertising and subscriptions combined.

Obituary rates can vary by market. Some newspapers charge obituaries by the number of characters in a piece, while others charge by the number of lines, square inches, or by word count. Others, particularly in smaller markets, price all obituaries at a flat rate, says Deborah Dreyfuss-Tuchman, Director of Business Development at Adpay.

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