Circulation

McClatchy explains change in circulation revenue

The McClatchy Company

Circulation revenue was up nearly 6 percent in McClatchy’s first quarter, the company said in a report Wednesday. But, the report said, that revenue was up less than 1 percent “excluding the $4.3 million in revenue related to the transition to fee-for-service circulation delivery contracts at certain newspapers.”

Reached by email, McClatchy Director of Investors Relations Ryan Kimball said some of the company’s newspapers “transitioned to a different circulation contract” during the first quarter. The contracts are fee for service, which for accountants means their “delivery expenses are no longer netted against circulation revenues and thus makes the reported circulation revenue higher.” So some of the papers had higher revenues and higher delivery expenses, he said. The change “has no impact on operating income or cash flow but we do point it out so investors can get a sense of what circulation revenues did in a given period ignoring the impact of the transition.”

Advertising reveue was down nearly 7 percent compared with the same period in 2013, McClatchy said in its report. Read more

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Newspaper industry narrowed revenue loss in 2013 as paywall plans increased

The newspaper industry narrowed its total revenue loss in 2013 to 2.6 percent, the best performance since 2006, according to figures released today by the Newspaper Association of America.

As suggested by earlier year-end reports from public companies, daily and Sunday print advertising revenues were down 8.6 percent and total advertising revenues down 6.5 percent.

However, circulation revenues grew for the second consecutive year, up 3.7 percent in 2013 compared to a 5 percent increase in 2012. That was driven by continued adoption of paywall plans, now at more than 500 of the roughly 1,400 dailies.

Revenue from digital-only subscriptions was up 47 percent, and print + digital bundled subscription revenue grew 108 percent. With many newspapers now offering all print subscribers a free digital access bundle, revenue from print-only subs and single-copy sales was down 20 percent. Read more

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Nate Silver: Pulitzer-winning newspapers aren’t immune to circulation losses

FiveThirtyEight

A newspaper’s Pulitzer Prize count has very little effect on its circulation losses, Nate Silver found after a spin through some data:

Does that mean that newspapers might as well forget about quality as an economic strategy? That’s not what this data says. There is a relationship between Pulitzer Prizes and circulation (the correlation is .53 among the 50 newspapers listed here). It’s just that this relationship hasn’t changed much from 10 years ago. The vast majority of newspapers have seen their circulations decline; the ones that win a lot of Pulitzers have suffered about as much as the ones that don’t. You could spin this result as a negative for high-quality journalism — newspapers that win Pulitzers are doing no better at retaining their readers — or as a positive — almost all newspapers are struggling, but the ones that win Pulitzers continue to have more readers.

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A USA Today newspaper box is shown in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

USA Today’s two-year strategic overhaul gains traction

(This case study, the fourth in an occasional series, was underwritten by a grant from the Stibo Foundation.)

USA Today has probably changed more in the last two years than in its previous 30.

Always a circulation-driven enterprise, the paper now has a radically different audience strategy, substituting mobile app traffic for the rapidly falling readership of its legacy print edition and folding a new condensed USA Today section into the largest 35 of Gannett’s 81 community newspapers.

Publisher Larry Kramer and his hand-picked editor, David Callaway, brought several decades of digital experience to the formidable task of finally breaking away from a print-first culture in the USA Today newsroom.

That these things happened has been reported by the company in recent presentations to investors, in two stories by the Wrap’s Sharon Waxman and in a nice summary piece this week by David Cay Johnston at CJR.com. Read more

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NAA: ‘Print only’ still more than half of newspaper audience even as digital grows

A new analysis of the most recent newspaper audience reports suggests a surprising split in reading habits. Digital audience continues to grow. Mobile audience is growing quickly. Mobile-only audience, though much smaller, has grown to 7 million.

Yet more than half of newspaper audience — 54 percent as measured by Scarborough research in 150 large markets — still read their local paper’s news report only in print.

There is an important qualifier to that finding. The 54 percent may consume a substantial amount of national news on various digital platforms, but even with the growth of print + digital access subscriptions, they do not visit their hometown paper’s website.

John Murray, the Newspaper Association of America’s vice president of audience development, generated a number of other headline findings in his analysis published on the NAA site (members-only) earlier this month:

  • Total daily circulation was up 3 percent year-to-year and Sunday circulation 1.6 percent among 541 daily papers reporting results to the Association of Audited Media (AAM) for the six-month periods ending Sept.
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PoynterVision: how NPR goes after emerging news audiences

Patrick Cooper, director of web and engagement at NPR, talks about trends that he sees coming in news audiences. In particular, he pays attention to fragmented audiences, the way audiences divide their time among devices, and the challenges that come with capturing those individuals. Cooper, who spoke at Poynter’s Future of News Audiences conference Jan. 26-27, offers us insights into NPR’s approach in drawing audiences.


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A USA Today newspaper box is shown in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Why USA Today’s huge growth in digital circulation isn’t what it seems

The Alliance for Audited Media released a new round of circulation figures today — a twice-yearly occasion for newspapers to write about themselves. In true Halloween spirit, a few of them published press releases disguised as staff reports, de-emphasizing evidence of dwindling print circulation in favor of stressing digital gains. Read more

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The New York Times and The Wall Street Jounal are displayed at a newsstand on Monday, July 28, 2008 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

USA Today’s circulation up 67 percent? Newspaper industry makes comparisons increasingly difficult

Alliance for Audited Media

Circulation in September 2013 rose at The New York Times, flattened at The Wall Street Journal and skyrocketed at USA Today, according to figures released Thursday by the Alliance for Audited Media. AAM is no longer releasing lists of the nation’s largest newspapers, citing “the change to comparative five-day averages” as more newspapers change their print publishing schedules. In fact, the new figures make many comparisons challenging.

Take USA Today, whose average Monday-Friday circulation rose an eye-popping 67 percent in September 2013, from 1,713,833 the year before to 2,876,586. Its print circulation, however, fell 19 percent year-over-year. USA Today’s averages include 1,545,364 digital replica and non-replica editions, up 1,690 percent from the 86,307 it counted in September 2012 (not to mention 14,357 branded editions). Read more

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Esquire app on an iPad

Why news organizations shouldn’t write off tablet magazines

Jon Lund in GigaOM recently declared tablet magazines a failure.

That’s true in the sense that they haven’t substantially impacted overall magazine circulation. Using Alliance of Audited Media numbers, Lund lists the percentages that “digital replica” paid subscriptions, such as for tablets, contributes to the total circulation for 25 magazines. They ranged from a high of 38 percent of total circulation (Game Informer Magazine, a noted outlier) to 2 percent (People magazine).

Like Lund, I’d discourage any new publication from focusing solely on tablet apps, stored deep inside iPad folders or in the dreaded Newsstand, far from the dynamic reach of social media and the Web.

But sometimes it’s nice to retreat to a dark, quiet, closed-off space on a tablet. And magazine apps are contributing enough to circulation figures that we shouldn’t write them off as worthwhile components of our larger digital strategies — especially if publishers are smart about how much they invest in producing them. Read more

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Advocate publisher says paper is adding 500 subscribers a week

The Advocate | NPR | New York Times

John Georges, publisher of The Advocate in Louisiana, told the New Orleans City Council on Thursday the paper is adding 500 new subscribers each week as it expands from Baton Rouge into New Orleans.

“The Advocate feels very loved right now,” Georges told the council, according to his own paper. Georges said it was proof the city wants a seven-day newspaper delivered to homes after the city’s Times-Picayune became a three-day-a-week paper to focus on NOLA.com.

The expansion of the Advocate into a daily New Orleans edition has been fraught with drama. The Advocate has recently poached a raft of talent from the Times-Picayune, which has planned a new “street” tabloid for previous non-print days. Georges has been quite vocal about wanting to take over the Big Easy, telling WWL-TV anchor Melanie Hebert he had wanted to buy the Times-Picayune outright, but Advance insisted it wasn’t for sale. Read more

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