Posts Tagged ‘circulation’

Newspaper circulation fall is slowing

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Newspaper circulation fell again in the last six months recorded but not as precipitously as it had the six months before, figures released Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations show.

“[A]verage weekday circulation fell 8.7 percent in the six months that ended March 31, compared with the same period a year earlier,” the Associated Press reported. “Sunday circulation fell 6.5 percent.That’s a slight improvement from April through September of last year, when average weekday circulation dropped 10.6 percent from a year earlier and Sunday circulation fell 7.5 percent.”

“In a way,” the AP report continues,  “the new circulation figures mirror the industry’s advertising trends. While most major newspapers continue to see ad revenue decline compared with year-ago figures, the drop is becoming less extreme. Newspapers are getting some help from easy comparisons — they are holding their latest ad numbers up to results from the depths of the recession — but economic improvement is also starting to restore advertising budgets.”

Some of the loss comes from a shift in focus, according to Advertising Age. “Newspapers have, on the other hand, gotten smarter about managing their paid circulations — sometimes abandoning areas outside their core markets, for example, where advertisers were less interested in appearing and distribution costs were greater. Some have increased newsstand and subscription prices, too, in an effort to improve circulation economics. Those factors combine to depress paid circulations.”

The Ad Age report, at the link above, includes a chart with figures from the nation’s top 25 papers based on circulation.

National papers testing local focus

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

More national newspapers are narrowing their focus to attract advertisers with local editions, AdAge points out. In addition to San Francisco editions of the Wall Street Journal debuting today and from the New York Times a few weeks ago, the Journal is boosting coverage of metro New York and the Times is planning a Chicago edition.

The Huffington Post, meanwhile, has already introduced sections aggregating local news in Chicago, Denver and New York.

“Any time a national brand can provide any local information or serve their readers locally, they’ll only grow that relationship,” Michael Rooney, chief revenue officer at The Journal, told AdAge.

“With readers, everyone hopes, comes advertising,” the magazine says. “And results so far look promising. The Journal’s San Francisco edition is sold out through the end of the year.”

It’s working because of “circulation weakness at the local newspapers,” and because it can be done cheaply: the Journal is getting the job done with employees already working for its parent company’s Dow Jones Newswires and MarketWatch, and the Times is using “outside partners.”

Newspapers still being sold by the millions

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Daniel Gross, wrting for Slate’s Moneybox, is not so shaken by this week’s reports showing double-digit declines in newspaper circulation over the past six month.

First, it’s the economy, (stupid). “Many other components of consumer discretionary spending — hotels, restaurants, air travel — have fallen off significantly. Do we draw a line from trends over the last few years and declare that in 15 years there will be only a handful of hotels?”

Second, as others have reported, publishers have raised single-copy and subscription prices, which naturally has driven some buyers away. “If raising subscription costs by 11 percent causes 10 percent of customers to flee, a newspaper will find that its circulation revenues are stable while it saves a lot of money by manufacturing a smaller number of newspapers.”

Meanwhile, by cutting costs newspapers have even shown a profit. “This is the new emerging model — cutting costs, raising prices. It may still fail in the end. But we shouldn’t act as if the online-only crowd has it all figured out. Every month, several million Americans pay to have newspapers and magazines delivered to their homes — a trick most online publications have yet to pull off.”

How would you describe your pain?

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

In addition to a couple of charts about circulation trends and reporting about them, The Awl has compiled New York Times headlines from reports about newspaper circulation since 1994 (scroll down for the heds).

Says the author, “Reading through them in chronological order, it’s …  like ‘meh bad same same same worser hey better worse worse OH GOD WORSE MUCH WORSE PANIC.’ “

Charlotte Observer circulation falls 13%

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

The Charlotte Observer, the largest daily newspaper in the Carolinas, says it lost 13 percent of daily circulation over the last six months and 10 percent of Sunday circulation. The result is a daily circulation of 167,585 and a Sunday circulation of 227,916.

“In the auditors’ category of reach, which reflects digital traffic and measures the average audience for seven days print circulation and 30 days online, the Observer went to 1,076,811 in the designated metropolitan market area, a 4 percent increase year-to-year,” the paper said Tuesday.

Average daily circulation at 379 U.S. newspapers plunged 10.6 percent in the April-September 2009 compared to  the same six-month stretch last year, according to figures released Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

The Charlotte Observer and The News & Observer in Raleigh are owned by the McClatchy Company. The News & Observer reported an 11.8 percent decline in daily circualtion and a 6.2 percent decline in Sunday circulation (see previous post).

N&O circulation drop outstrips national trend

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

The News & Observer is reporting a decline in daily circulation over the past six months that exceeds the national average.

The Raleigh paper’s Monday-through-Friday circulation dropped 11.8 percent to 139,826 over six months through September, from 158,575 for the same period in 2008. Sunday circulation dropped 6.2 percent to 193,010 from 205,662 in 2008.

Audit Bureau of Circulations figures released Monday show that average daily circulation nationwide dropped 10.6 percent in the April-September period from the same six-month span in 2008. Sunday circulation fell 7.5 percent.

N&O Publisher Orage Quarles III said in an e-mail to employees Monday that he “hopes you will see [the figures] in a realistic, rather than pessimistic, light.”

Quarles says that, as a cost-cutting measure, the company has devoted less of an effort to circulation sales and has increased prices. They have also eliminated many third-party sales of the paper and Newspaper in Education print copies.  Third-party papers are bought by an advertiser, homeowners group, or an event group and re-distributed.

Other circulation, NIE and third party were down 26 percent daily and 29 percent Sunday for the reporting period, Quarles wrote.

“Sunday paid circulation among home-delivery subscribers, a key measure watched closely by our advertisers, remains strong. In fact, Scarborough Research shows that The N&O has more Sunday readers than ever in the four-county Greater Triangle, and that readership is more affluent than ever,” Quarles’ memo continues.

“Our interactive traffic, which is combined with our paid circulation to achieve a net combined audience number, remained strong, with 2.3 million unique visitors and 14 million page views – an increase over the previous six months.

“I realize that these numbers are not encouraging, but I hope the information I have shared will help you see them in context. And please do not forget that we are the leading source of news and information to the Triangle and beyond, and we continue to offer effective and innovative marketing solutions to our advertisers.”

In the N&O’s article about the figures, Jim Puryear, vice president of circulation, also says the new e-edition of the paper, an online reproduction of the printed paper’s pages that launched in July, has 700 daily subscribers and 300 Sunday subscribers.

Newspaper circulation declines

Monday, October 26th, 2009

The latest six-month survey of newspaper circulation in America shows a double-digit loss among average daily circulation, “one of the most severe drops in overall circulation,” according to Editor & Publisher.

Monday’s Audit Bureau of Circulations report shows “that for the 379 newspapers filing with the organization, average daily circulation plunged 10.6 percent to 30,395,652 … [and] Sunday circulation for 562 reporting newspapers was down 7.4 percent to 40,012,253″ compared to the same six months a year ago.

In addition to failing reader interest in print newspapers, E&P says publishers are purposely distributing fewer hotel, employee and third-party sponsored copies, and general distribution routes pretty much stick the core market.

“Another shift has occurred: volume has taken a back seat to dollars,” the trade journal says.

“Several major newspapers across the country have aggressively hiked prices of single-copy and home-delivered papers in search of circulation revenue and a renewed focus on loyal readers. Circulation is guaranteed to go down as prices go up, but publishers have opted to wring more revenue from readers as advertisers keep their coffers closed.

“… In Q3, circulation revenue grew 6.7 percent at McClatchy, 11 percent at Media General, and 6.7 percent at The New York Times Co.”

E&P lists the top 25 daily papers in the country, led by The Wall Street Journal, with a circulation of 2,024,269, and the top 25 Sunday papers, led by The New York Times, with a circulation of 1,400,302. The Journal shows 0.61 percent growth, but the rest are down compared to the previous survey or were not on the earlier top 25 list.

Leading the top 25 circulation gainers was the York (Pa.) Daily Record, growing by 16.45 percent to a circulation of 55,370.

And then there’s the top 25 combined print and online growth, with the Greensburg (Pa.) Tribune-Review at the top of the heap with a 13.58 percent increase, and McClatchy’s Charlotte Observer latching on at No. 24 with 4.41 percent growth. The Greensboro News-Record showed 6.41 percent combined print and online circulation/readership growth, ranking 8th on the list.