Articles about "Circulation"


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Daily newspaper circulation totals ‘do not capture the full story’ anymore

On Tuesday, the Alliance for Audited Media (formerly ABC) will announce circulation totals for American newspapers, as it has done in regular six-month cycles for as long as I can remember.

I will hazard a guess about the results, but that’s not the news this time. What’s important is that the totals — and the list of the top 25 newspapers in average daily circulation generated from them — are headed for the scrap heap.

“The total circulation numbers do not capture the full story any longer,” Neal Lulofs, executive vice president at AAM, told me in a phone interview. AAM’s board has decided to make reporting a five-day average — long the standard — optional for papers. That means come October there will be no valid comparison of daily circulation among newspapers.

John Murray, who directs audience research and training at the Newspaper Association of America (NAA), said doing away with the familiar metric makes sense. Read more

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NAA turns feisty, boasting of ad effectiveness and digital subscription success

The Newspaper Association of America’s annual mediaXchange conference is always part industry promotion, an occasion for expressions of confidence. But at this year’s edition in Orlando last week, those sentiments had a fighting edge.

Outgoing chairman Jim Moroney, publisher and CEO of the Dallas Morning News, chose a medley of down-home, don’t-mess-with-Texas aphorisms to open the conference. He said he was ready to bet against the “gaggle of self-proclaimed experts,” predicting the industry’s imminent demise that “print newspapers will still be around in 10 years” and that they will report their “first year-to-year increase in revenues (since the mid-2000s) by this time next year.”

Moroney, affectionately called “the Nutty Professor” by a later presenter, added that the industry should “open barrels of whoopass” on its critics and “ignore the Eeyores.”

In a similar vein, Moroney’s successor, Robert Nutting, CEO of Ogden Newspapers, said later in the conference: “We need to be our own evangelists; we need to get some of our swagger back.”

So what’s the case for swagger? Read more

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Newspaper litter a First Amendment issue, town officials say

Chicago Tribune
Residents of the Chicago suburb St. Charles, Ill., have to solve the problem of uninvited newspapers themselves, town officials say. The offending papers are “often free versions of papers from media companies in the area including the Chicago Tribune, the Daily Herald, the Kane County Chronicle and the St. Charles Examiner,” City Administrator Brian Townsend tells the Tribune’s Kate Thayer.

City Attorney Gerald Gorski said the city cannot set limitations on the distribution of printed materials, although some have tried. Municipalities who in the past have regulated the practice have been shot down by the courts, he said.

“The First Amendment trumps everything,” Gorski said, adding that because the papers include not just advertising but editorial content, they are protected.

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USPS won’t end Saturday delivery

The Washington Post

The U.S. Postal Service said Wednesday it will not end Saturday delivery, something it announced in February that it planned to do.

The USPS hoped curtailing delivery on those days would help it control costs. Unlike many other government bodies, the USPS is required to pre-fund retirement obligations. In fiscal 2012, the USPS’ deficit was $16 billion. It estimated ending Saturday delivery would save about $2 billion.

The change would have landed hard on newsweeklies and community papers, many of which deliver on Saturdays. Bloomberg Businessweek announced last month that it had partnered with Gannett to have newspaper carriers deliver the magazine in some markets. It began rolling out its alternate delivery program in 2010.

Previously: Newspapers, magazines will have ‘not-great’ choices as USPS plans to end Saturday delivery | Bloomberg Businessweek expands non-postal delivery Read more

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Deeper data dive finds $5.5 billion in uncounted newspaper industry revenue

Years of negative reports on ad revenue losses could leave the newspaper industry muttering, “I demand a recount.” The Newspaper Association of America has just completed such an exercise and found some solid gains that have been overlooked previously in its own measurements.

New statistics released Monday produced these findings:

• Circulation revenue was up 5 percent year-to-year in 2012.  That is the result of new digital-only subscriptions and the higher prices being charged for print-only and print-plus-digital bundles.  Paid print circulation volume continued to fall during the year, but that was more than made up for by the higher rates. Read more

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Bloomberg Businessweek expands non-postal delivery

Bloomberg Businessweek is expanding its alternate delivery program via a partnership with Gannett, the magazine will announce Monday. Subscribers in Cincinnati, Asheville, N.C., and 13 other markets will by July be able to receive their magazines via Gannett’s newspaper-delivery apparatus.

Alternate delivery systems will become more important for many weekly magazines and community newspapers if the the United States Postal Service goes through with its proposal to eliminate Saturday delivery. In February, Businessweek’s head of manufacturing and distribution, Bernie Schraml, told Poynter that one issue with alternate delivery is that the USPS prohibits private services from delivering to customers’ mailboxes. Read more

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The problem with Sunday papers: Why rising numbers are not what they seem

For several years, Sunday editions have been the brightest star in a fading constellation for print newspapers. When circulation numbers were falling, Sunday routinely did better than daily. As recently as the Audit Bureau of Circulations spring report six months ago, Sunday was up 5 percent year-to-year.

But in a new ABC report released late last month, Sunday outperformed daily by a bare fraction of a percentage point — up 0.6 percent versus daily circulation down 0.2 percent. Not a horrible result, but a marked turn for the worse. Why?

Sunday growth slows

One factor is that the super-couponing craze, at its peak in the spring and summer of 2011, has run its course. Editor Neil Brown of Poynter’s Tampa Bay Times told me that the decline in couponing, together with a price increase, was the main culprit in a 5.9 percent year-to-year Sunday decline for the paper.

John Murray, who directs circulation research and training at the Newspaper Association of America, said in a phone interview that he too thinks the phenomenon of coupon enthusiasts buying multiple copies to increase savings has waned or stopped. Read more

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Washington Post Sunday circulation drop bad, but not quite as bad as it looks

The Washington Post’s average Sunday circulation dropped 20.2 percent over 2011, according to the most recent Audit Bureau of Circulations report. But just like in the May report, the September report didn’t count the Post’s branded editions with its Sunday numbers.

That branded edition is Savings Now, an advertising product with editorial content that’s home-delivered to non-Post subscribers. It added 119,029 to the Sunday 2011 numbers. Subtract that from the difference between 2011′s average Sunday circulation (846,019) and 2012′s (674,751), and you have a real drop of 52,239, or a little more than 7 percent. Read more

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Newspaper circulation stays the same in latest ABC report, but the mix is shifting to digital

Newspaper circulation was essentially the same in the six months ending September 30, compared to the same period a year ago, the Audit Bureau of Circulations reported this morning.

The 613 papers reporting daily results for both periods saw circulation fall 0.2 percent. For 528 papers reporting comparable Sunday results, circulation was up 0.6 percent.

Those numbers mask an important change, though. With the fast adoption of paywall systems, paid digital has risen to 15.3 percent of the total, compared to 9.8 percent in the 2011 period. That means print numbers are falling by roughly an equal amount.

That change is not surprising given digital pay plan trends. More than 300 papers now charge for digital, with 70 of Gannett’s 80 community papers making the switch and McClatchy’s 30 just beginning a similar roll-out.

So digital-only subs are on the rise. Plus the many papers that offer a bundled subscription including print and several digital platforms can count users on each of those additional platforms as new circulation, so long as the digital option is accessed once a month. Read more

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New York Times’ circulation revenue lags growth in digital subscriptions

Wall Street rewarded The New York Times Co. with a 10 percent stock price increase Thursday after a second-quarter earnings report with several significant bits of good news:

  • For a second consecutive quarter, increases in circulation revenue more than made up for ad revenue losses.
  • Circulation revenue is pulling even with ad revenue for the company as a whole; at The New York Times itself, circulation revenue exceeds that from ads.
  • New York Times digital subscriptions passed the 500,000 mark, achieving 12 percent growth since March. Skeptics like me thought it might take a whole year to reach that.
  • And the company forecasts better ad revenue and profitability for the second half of the year as it moves past sharp traffic and revenue losses at its About.com subsidiary.

All that progress is real, but the company’s figures mask a fast-shifting mix within its circulation base.

The increase in the number of digital subscriptions was measured from the previous quarter — not the norm in the industry, but maybe justified given its fast growth and the intense investor and public interest in the Times’ paywall. Read more

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