Newspapers Drop Circulation Again. Sunday Circulation Falls by Nearly 5 %

Mick Gregory

The New York Times circulation fell 4.5 percent.

Here is a lesson to reporters who keep carping on “high profit margins.” There is no growth in this industry. That’s why stockholders won’t buy into your obsolete business model.

The future is bleak. There is too much competition now. Your one horse town monopolies don’t mean anything anymore in the global economy.

Circulation fell at most U.S. newspapers in the six months to September, according to statistics released on Monday that for the first time include Internet readership in a bid by publishers to boost their attractiveness to advertisers.

Average daily paid circulation for newspapers printed Monday through Friday fell 2.6 percent and Sunday circulation fell 3.5 percent for the six-month period that ended September 30, 2007, compared with the year before, according to publishers’ statistics released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Most big city dailies reported that average daily paid print circulation fell. Dow Jones & Company Inc said daily circulation at The Wall Street Journal, including paid subscriptions to its Web site, dropped 1.5 percent, while The New York Times fell 4.5 percent.

Advertisers have considered print circulation key to determining where they spend their dollars, but publishers hope the Web numbers will provide a better picture of the true reach of newspapers. Editors never bothered to push for a level playing field by counting total readership as broadcast uses viewers.

“We generally agree that we can now truly gauge the impact of newspapers across the variety of media platforms that they truly represent,” said Dave Walker, chief executive of Newspaper Services of America, which buys ad space in papers.

Gannett Co Inc reported a 1 percent rise in daily paid circulation at USA Today, while the Philadelphia Inquirer said circulation rose 2.3 percent.

The Washington Post reported a 3.23 percent drop, while the Chicago Tribune fell 2.9 percent. Its parent company Tribune Co said circulation fell at Long Island, New York’s Newsday, but rose 0.5 percent at the Los Angeles Times.

The new data includes the number of people estimated to read a paper, not just how many papers were sold.

Many also are reporting usage of their Web sites, as well as a figure that tries to count print and Web site use without counting people twice who use both.

Alan Mutter, a former newspaper editor who writes a blog on newspaper and media issues called Reflections of a Newsosaur, said many newspaper Web site visitors to not remain long enough to make them worthwhile for advertisers.

“Who would work at a newspaper today, except liberal perverts… Why wouldn’t they be working as Web masters?”
–Michael Savage

Circulation fell at most U.S. newspapers in the six months leading up to September, according to statistics released on Monday from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC). For the first time, the 19th century “official” verification company for newspapers includes Internet readership in last chance bid by publishers to boost their attractiveness to advertisers.

It’s always slow for the editor-centric newspaper business to catch on to common media practices let alone innovation. After all, most newspapers are run by former reporters who made their way up the ranks to management by making “scopes” and stabbing their coworkers in the back; not on actual business accomplishments or enterprise.

Sunday circulation fell nearly 5 percent.

The declines come as readers move online, but they also stem from publishers’ efforts to cut discounted copies from their subscription rolls, said a spokeswoman for the Newspaper Association of America.

Some papers, particularly in California and Florida, are dealing with the weak housing market, while others face their own regional trends, such as in Michigan where papers have cut jobs as they serve markets hurt by the slumping auto industry.

Gannett Co Inc reported a 1 percent rise in daily paid circulation at USA Today, while the Philadelphia Inquirer said circulation rose 2.3 percent.

The Washington Post reported a 3.23 percent drop, while the Chicago Tribune fell 2.9 percent. Its parent company Tribune Co said circulation fell at Long Island, New York’s Newsday, but rose 0.5 percent at the Los Angeles Times.

The new data includes the number of people estimated to read a paper, not just how many papers were sold.

Many also are reporting usage of their Web sites, as well as a figure that tries to count print and Web site use without counting people twice who use both.

Gannett’s Asbury Park Press in New Jersey has average daily print circulation of 144,072. But it claims more than 650,000 print readers, more than 850,000 unique Web users and some 832,000 people, without counting people who read both editions more than once.

It is hard to say if advertisers will buy the new numbers.

Alan Mutter, a former newspaper editor who writes a blog on newspaper and media issues called Reflections of a Newsosaur, said many newspaper Web site visitors to not remain long enough to make them worthwhile for advertisers.

“I think it’s certainly valuable in the sense that advertisers have something they can count on and make reasonable judgments about,” he said. “The question is, are they going to like the numbers they see?”

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3 thoughts on “Newspapers Drop Circulation Again. Sunday Circulation Falls by Nearly 5 %

  1. Here is a microcosim of the entire industry.

    LaPorte paper cuts almost half its jobs

    November 8, 2007
    BY TOM WYATT Post-Tribune staff writer
    More than 30 employees at the Herald-Argus newspaper in LaPorte will lose their jobs as the result of a discreet round of recent cutbacks.
    In what employees dubbed “Black Wednesday,” workers in the paper’s prepress, press room and distribution areas were told on Oct. 31 their jobs would be eliminated as of Dec. 1.

    The paper will be printed at the Herald-Palladium in St. Joseph, Mich., beginning Dec. 3, said one employee, who didn’t want to be identified.

    Also on Oct. 31, four sales assistants, a staff photographer and the newspaper’s wire editor were let go.

    One former employee put the number of jobs lost at about 30 while another employee said it could affect as many as 40, or about half the newspaper’s current staff.

    Paxton Media Group purchased the newspaper, which is published afternoons Monday through Saturday, from the Small Newspaper Group on Oct. 1.

  2. In fact it is only the large circulation newspapers that are suffering. The aforementioned Paxton Media Group owns almost exclusively small market papers, all of which are profitable. As for “citizen journalism” the main problem is that there is no vetting of facts and no legal means to oblige blogs to do so. Blogs and sources of information such as Wikipedia are causing a degradation, not an amelioration, of public knowledge.

  3. James, how often have any “wronged” individuals or corporations ever won a judgement against a newspaper for not “vetting” a story? Who are you trying to fool?

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