To the widely accepted notion that the newspaper business is going to hell in a bucket, here is a curious exception: circulation revenues (and profits) have risen over the last several years at the same time expenses have been substantially reduced.
The particulars of the case are laid out in the 15th edition of a data-heavy Newspaper of Association of America report, Circulation Facts and Figures, released this week (free to NAA members only).
Among 175 papers responding to a NAA survey, the median “bottom-line contribution” of circulation had risen from 42.6 percent in 2011 to 56.1 percent last year. That’s not the same thing as a profit margin — since circulation (like advertising) must produce revenues well above that department’s operating expenses to carry other parts of the enterprise like the newsroom and pressroom. Read more