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Newspaper circulation down, Web readers up
Seattle Post-Intelligencer ^ | May 8, 2006 | SETH SUTEL

Posted on 05/09/2006 4:50:25 PM PDT by neverdem


NEW YORK -- Daily circulation fell 2.5 percent at U.S. newspapers in the six-month period ending in March, according to data released Monday, reflecting the industry's ongoing struggle to retain paying customers amid competition from the Internet and other media outlets.

The Newspaper Association of America, analyzing data from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, also reported that Sunday circulation fell 3.1 percent at the 610 newspapers reporting those figures. The 2.5 percent decline in average paid weekday circulation was based on data from 770 newspapers reporting to the Audit Bureau.

The overall decline in both weekday and Sunday circulation were approximately the same as those given in the previous six-month reporting cycle for the period ending last September.

Newspaper circulation has been in general decline for years as many people, particularly young adults, turn to other media outlets including cable TV and the Internet for news and information. Also, tougher rules on telemarketing have forced newspapers to find other ways to attract new readers.

Despite the decline in paid copies, newspapers are seeing a greater number of visitors to their Web sites. The NAA also reported Monday that newspaper-run sites had an overall 8 percent increase in viewers in the first quarter.

The data from Nielsen/NetRatings found that newspaper Web sites averaged 56 million users in the period, or 37 percent of all online users in the period, the NAA said.

Revenue from online advertising is growing quickly - about 25 percent to 30 percent a year - but still makes up a relatively small portion of newspapers' overall advertising revenue at about 5 percent, John Kimball, the chief marketing officer of the NAA, told reporters on a conference call.

On the whole, most newspapers are showing declining circulation. John Murray, the NAA's vice president of circulation marketing, said on the call that just one in four newspapers showed increases in weekday circulation in the latest reporting period, while one in five had gains on Sunday.

The largest newspapers held up relatively well, with Gannett Co.'s USA Today notching a 0.09 percent gain to 2,272,815 copies, remaining the top-selling newspaper in the country. The Wall Street Journal, published by Dow Jones & Co., was second with 2,049,786, down 1 percent, and The New York Times was third, with an increase of 0.5 percent to 1,142,464 copies.

Several other major papers reported declines, with the largest by far coming at the San Francisco Chronicle, where average paid weekday circulation fell 15.6 percent to 398,246.

Patricia Hoyt, a spokeswoman for the Chronicle, said the newspaper began cutting back on certain kinds of circulation at the beginning of last year such as copies paid for by advertisers and then distributed for free. The cutbacks involve copies that "advertisers didn't value, were quite costly and essentially had no impact on our readership."

The Chronicle, which is owned by Hearst Corp., reported a similar decline in paid circulation for the previous six-month reporting period that ended last September.

Several other top newspapers reported declines, including Tribune Co.'s Los Angeles Times, down 5.4 percent at 851,832; The Washington Post, down 3.7 percent at 724,242; the New York Daily News, also down 3.7 percent at 708,477. News Corp.'s New York Post slipped 0.7 percent to 673,379.

Among other large papers, The Boston Globe fell 8.5 percent to 397,288, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution fell down 6.7 percent to 365,011. The Globe is owned by The New York Times Co. and the Journal-Constitution by Cox Enterprises Inc.

Besides USA Today, a handful of other major newspapers also reported modest circulation gains: Tribune's Chicago Tribune, up 0.9 percent at 579,079; and The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., up 0.9 percent at 398,329. The Star-Ledger is owned by Advance Publications Inc.

On the Net:

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Extended News; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: circulation; msmwoes; newspapers

A stack of Washington Post newspapers is seen on Capitol Hill on Friday, May 5, 2006. The Post said Friday its first-quarter profit rose 16 percent as revenue increased. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)
1 posted on 05/09/2006 4:50:27 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem
Newspaper circulation has been in general decline for years as many people, particularly young adults, turn to other media outlets including cable TV and the Internet for news and information.

Not to mention old people dying off. The same can be said of network newscasts. The only people who watch the networks are old folks who don't like to venture out of their comfort zone.

2 posted on 05/09/2006 4:52:58 PM PDT by Texas Eagle (If it wasn't for double-standards, Liberals would have no standards at all.)
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To: neverdem

I haven't read a newspaper for about two years. They are obsolete.

3 posted on 05/09/2006 4:54:53 PM PDT by pleikumud
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To: pleikumud

There are still some advantages of reading financial papers.

4 posted on 05/09/2006 4:58:56 PM PDT by newfarm4000n (God Bless America and God Bless Freedom)
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To: pleikumud

I get the WSJ, it is the only paper I read anymore. I have noticed that on Sunday's now, they have people selling the paper at major intersections. That is how bad it has gotten for the Tampa Trib anyway.

5 posted on 05/09/2006 5:00:20 PM PDT by Laverne
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To: neverdem; george76; abb; Milhous; Liz; petercooper
This is not a new trend. For the last two years, the stock values of the major Dinosaur Fishwraps have dropping like rocks. Below is the comparison of two year stock values of the big Dino Fishwraps versus the evil Haliburton stock, HAL.

6 posted on 05/09/2006 5:05:20 PM PDT by Grampa Dave (There's a dwindling market for Marxist homosexual lunatic wet dreams posing as journalism)
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To: neverdem

One suggestion: Drop by Starbucks on Sunday and pick up used newspapers for the coupons. That way you may be able to save a bundle and not have to pay for the funnies.

7 posted on 05/09/2006 5:07:04 PM PDT by ex-Texan (Matthew 7:1 through 6)
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To: Grampa Dave

Article from Ad Age

Newspapers Circ Continues Decline; Publishers Tout Online Gains
Industry Loses 1.2 Million Readers in Six Months

By Nat Ives

Published: May 08, 2006
NEW YORK ( -- This morning's semi-annual report on paid newspaper circulation delivered nothing to change the portrait of an industry losing customers.

The newspaper industry has received the latest round of bad news.

For the six months that ended March 31, the average paid weekday circulation of all 770 U.S. newspapers reporting declined to 45.4 million, down 2.5% from the equivalent prior period, according to an analysis by the Newspaper Association of America of figures compiled by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. That's a loss of nearly 1.2 million paying readers.

Last November's report also showed a topline 2.6% decline in paying weekday readers, in that case among 786 papers reporting, meaning 1.2 million paying readers were lost then too, according to the NAA.

Drop-offs outnumber gains
Among the big urban papers, drop-offs vastly outnumbered gains. The Baltimore Sun, for example, lost 3% of its paid circulation, falling to a paid weekday average of 236,317 from 243,747 one year prior.

In Philadelphia, The Inquirer dropped nearly 5.5% to 350,457 and the Daily News sank 9.3% to 116,590. Both are being shopped for buyers by the McClatchy Co., which agreed to buy them as part of its acquisition of Knight Ridder, but were immediately returned to the block. Large papers also suffered in Atlanta, Cleveland, Houston, Miami, Minneapolis and Seattle.

Of the top 25 newspapers by weekday circulation in today's report, 20 lost paid circulation during the six months that ended March 31, compared with their figures for the equivalent period a year earlier.

None of the top 25 that added paying circulation -- USA Today, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Star-Ledger of Newark and The Detroit Free Press -- moved the needle up by even 1%. But six lost more than 5%, lead by The San Francisco Chronicle, which gave up 15.6%.

De-emphasize the results
The Newspaper Association of America moved quickly to de-emphasize the results. "Both circulation and readership are important, valid measures of the newspaper audience, but counting only the number of units sold on a given day obscures the actual use of newspapers and consumer exposure to advertising," said John F. Sturm, president-CEO, NAA.

"Our continuing discussions with the advertising community and third-party research we have seen tell us that audience is important to advertisers because it provides a more accurate measure of newspapers' total reach," he said. "The research also points out how engaged the newspaper audience is with the media -- in print and online."

Newspaper publishers -- and journalists, investors and related businesses -- indeed have some reasons for optimism. Last year's shareholder revolt at Knight Ridder notwithstanding, newspaper companies continue to throw off healthy profits; their Web sites, too, are attracting readers online.

The newspaper association said today that the online audience for newspaper reached record levels in the first quarter: Citing Nielsen/NetRatings data, it said newspaper Web sites averaged 56 million users, an 8% increase in reach of first-quarter 2005.

The top three
Of the top three papers, Gannett's category-leader USA Today essentially held flat, improving average paid weekday circulation by 0.09% to total 2.27 million. At No. 2, The Wall Street Journal from Dow Jones saw average paid weekday circulation slip a full percentage point to 2.05 million. And The New York Times expanded 0.5% to 1.14 million.

But the fourth, Tribune's Los Angeles Times, gave up 5.4% and fell to average paid weekday circulation of 851,832. And The Washington Post, fifth on the list, slipped 3.67% to 724,242.

Although New York's tabloids narrowed the distance between, The Daily News held on to its top spot, even if it lost 3.7% of its average weekday paying circulation, falling to 708,477. Rival New York Post also lost ground, just not as much -- average paid circulation fell 0.7% to 673,379.

The New York Times Co. may take pride this morning that its flagship paper's print edition eked out growth, but another of its properties, The Boston Globe, fared much worse, falling 8.5% to 397,288.

Today's report did not include New Orleans' Times-Picayune, which deferred reporting because of the effects of Hurricane Katrina. But it marked the return The Tribune Co.'s Newsday in Long Island which has been absent since the report of March 2004 because of censure by the audit bureau.

8 posted on 05/09/2006 5:10:48 PM PDT by abb (If it Ain't on FreeRepublic, it Ain't News)
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To: neverdem

Not surprised. Lede's like these are typical:

Associated Press
TEHRAN, Iran - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's abrupt dismissal of a letter from Iran's president might only strengthen hardline attitudes and mistrust of America, some Iranians warned Tuesday.

As President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad began a high-profile visit to a key Muslim country, Indonesia, a former top Iranian official said Rice's response will give new justification to those who oppose ties with the U.S.

As if this were journalism worth paying for. Let's find another. Here, this lead story from the NY Times:
Published: May 9, 2006
Americans have a bleaker view of the country's direction than at any time in more than two decades, and sharp disapproval of President Bush's handling of gasoline prices has combined with intensified unhappiness about Iraq to create a grim political environment for the White House and Congressional Republicans, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll.

This is propaganda, media-created propaganda. When people pay good money for subscriptions, they want news! Not this stuff. Good riddence. With news web sites, you can quickly survey a variety of sources, including blogs, and get a good balance of stories from which to form opinions, rather than being force fed the opinions of politically-motivated editorial boards.

9 posted on 05/09/2006 5:13:58 PM PDT by formercalifornian (One nation, under whatever popular fad comes to mind at the moment, indivisible...)
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To: neverdem

I read portions of my local fishwrap (usually the weather report) - the Oregonian - at work, if at all.

I don't know their circulation figures or trends, but I do know I've been offered 8 weeks for free. I told them that free was way too expensive for the value of their paper.

For the past several years, their editorial and news articles (little difference really) have been moving further and further left. And the vast majority of the letters they receive (print?) are anti-war, anti-Bush, pro-choice, you name it.

Not too surprising that most of the red state kind of folks, including yours truly, don't waste their time or money.

10 posted on 05/09/2006 5:35:34 PM PDT by Wicket (God bless and protect our troops and God bless America)
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To: neverdem

"Newspaper Circulation Down, Web Readers Up" Gee, do you think there is a correlation between the two? I would think so.

11 posted on 05/09/2006 5:35:45 PM PDT by Uncle Hal
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To: neverdem
Buh bye now.

12 posted on 05/09/2006 5:39:20 PM PDT by GretchenM (What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? Please meet my friend, Jesus.)
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To: pleikumud; Grampa Dave
There has not been any real news in these fishwraps in a very long time.

They can not even give the papers away for bird cage droppings.
13 posted on 05/09/2006 5:50:10 PM PDT by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: neverdem
Also, tougher rules on telemarketing have forced newspapers to find other ways to attract new readers.

Gee, last month the "also" factor was the high cost of newsprint.

I'd be happy to support my local paper if it didn't go out of its way to offend my intelligence. There was a study done years ago that concluded that local newspapers were out of touch with their readership. It was ignored by the media, of course, because it was they that were in touch with reality, not us peons. I mean, they don't call it the Mainstream Media for nothing...right?? Chickens coming home to roost--nothing more, nothing less.

14 posted on 05/09/2006 5:56:48 PM PDT by randog (What the...?!)
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To: neverdem

My local liberal rag of a paper, the Milwaukee Urinal-Sentinel, has had little booths at the Pick-n-Save grocery stores and Farm and Fleet stores trying to get people to sign up at discount rates. They even offer free papers to people walking by. I just keep telling them no thanks, I don't have a bird. ;)

15 posted on 05/09/2006 7:35:55 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man
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Newspaper circulation has been in general decline for years as many people, particularly young adults, turn to other media outlets including cable TV and the Internet for news and information.

Recently collaborated by another source:

Fox, BBC, Al Jazeera most trusted: poll - May 2, 2006

One-quarter of consumers abandoned a news source over the past year because they lost trust in its reporting, according to a new survey that also found the BBC, Fox News and Al Jazeera the most trusted brands in their respective home regions.

. . .

The survey confirmed that media consumption is shifting online for younger generations, as 19 percent of those aged 18 to 24 named the Internet as their most important source of news compared with 9 percent overall.

16 posted on 05/09/2006 8:32:26 PM PDT by Milhous (Sarcasm - the last refuge of an empty mind.)
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