A Guide to Competitive Media

RAB's new Competitive Media section gives you complete access to the latest information profiling 10 competitive media. Each profile contains a complete whitepaper as well as the advantages, disadvantages and plus Radio for each medium.

This section also gives you the option to build custom media profiles reflecting specific talking points in a colorful, street-ready one sheet.


  • For the six-month period ending September 2010, circulation for the 635 daily newspapers included in the regular Audit Bureau of Circulations report was down 5.0% from the same six-month time frame in 2009. Circulation for the 553 Sunday papers included in the study was off 4.5% for the six-month period ending September 2010. (Audit Bureau of Circulations, 2010)

    A total of 48.7% adult males and 44.3% of adult females were daily newspaper readers in 2010 (either print or Web versions). (Newspaper Association of America, 2011)

    Also in 2010, 45.0% of men and 47.7% of women were Sunday newspaper readers. (Newspaper Association of America, 2011)

    In 2010, 32.0% of adults in the 18-34 age range, and 52.7% of those ages 35+ read a daily newspaper (either print or Web version). (Newspaper Association of America, 2011)

    For 2010, 39.0% of adults with household incomes of less than $50,000 read a daily newspaper (either print or Web version), compared to 50.6% of those consumers with household incomes of $50,000-$99,999, an 57.4% of those earning $100,000 or more. (Newspaper Association of America, 2011)

    During a typical week in 2010, 71.2% of adult males and 71.0% of adult females read a newspaper (either print or Web version. (Newspaper Association of America, 2011)

    In 2010, 38.3% of adults with a high school education or less read a daily newspaper (print or Web version), compared to 48.4% of adults with some college, and 58.5% who were college graduates. (Newspaper Association of America, 2011)

    The most widely-read sections of a daily newspaper in 2010 (percentage of readers who look at these sections): Main news/front page, 82.2%; local news, 76.6%; sports, 56.0%; entertainment/lifestyle, 55.6%; international/national news, 54.5%; comics, 54.0%; ad circulars/inserts/flyers, 52.4%; food/cooking, 52.3%; business/finance, 51.4%; editorial page, 51.2%; classified advertising, 50.8%; movie listings/reviews, 48.6%; home/garden, 48.3%; TV/radio listings, 46.1%; science/technology, 44.7%; fashion, 43.2%. (Newspaper Association of America, 2011)

    The Main News/Front Page and Local News sections are the top two favorites of both men and women. Sports is the third most popular section among men, while the Entertainment/Lifestyle section ranks third among women readers. (Newspaper Association of America, 2011)

    Based on an analysis of 25 leading U.S. newspapers, the number of daily newspaper readers per copy increased from 3.07 adults in 2007 to 3.30 adults in 2009. (Scarborough Research, 2010)

    The average aggregate number of daily visitors to U.S. newspaper Web sites in March 2011 was 24.725 million, compared to 20.328 million in September 2010. The average minutes-per-visit in March 2011 was 3.9. (comScore, 2011)

    Total ad sales for the traditional newspaper industry dropped 8.2% in 2010 to $22.795 billion, down from $24.821 billion in 2009 and $34.740 billion in 2008. Newspaper ad revenues hit an all-time high of $48.670 billion in 2000. (Newspaper Association of America, 2011)

    Revenue from newspapers' online advertising totaled $3.042 billion in 2010, a 10.9% increase from 2009, accounting for 11.8% of all newspaper ad spending for the year. Online ad revenue was $2.743 billion in 2009, and $3.109 billion in 2008. (Newspaper Association of America, 2011)

    The total number of daily newspapers in the U.S. slipped to 1,387 in 2009, down from 1,422 in 2007 and 1,452 in 2005. There were 911 Sunday papers in the U.S. in 2009, compared to 907 in 2007 and 914 in 2005. (Editor & Publisher, 2011)

    Paid circulation for the nation's daily newspapers totaled 45.653 million in 2009, down from 50.742 million in 2007 and 53.345 million in 2005. For Sunday newspapers, paid circulation was 46.164 million in 2009, compared to 51.246 million in 2007 and 55.270 million in 2005. (Newspaper Association of America, 2011)

    The leading newspaper advertisers in 2009, by company: 1. General Motors; 2. Macy's; 3. Verizon Communications; 4. AT&T; 5. Fry's Electronics; 6. News Corp.; 7. Procter & Gamble; 8. Sears Holdings Corp.; 9. Target; 10. Kohl's Corp. (Advertising Age, 2010)

    Top newspapers in 2010, based on local audience reach (print and online audiences combined): 1. New York Daily News; 2. Los Angeles Times; 3. New York Times; 4. New York Post; 5. Chicago Tribune; 6. Chicago Sun-Times Group; 7. Washington Post; 8. Los Angeles Newspaper Group; 9. San Francisco Bay Area Group; 10. Newsday. (Scarborough Research, 2011)

    According to a 2011 survey by Frank N. Magid Associates, 79% of the respondents said they took action as a result of newspaper advertising in the past month, including: Clipping a coupon (54%); buying something (46%); visiting Web sites to learn more (37%); and trying something for the first time (20%). (Frank N. Magid Associates, 2011)

    A 2011 study by comScore determined that newspaper websites reach 74.4% of adults in households earning over $100,000 a year. (comScore, 2011)

  • Mass Audience: Newspapers reach a relatively large mass audience throughout the market with a single exposure. A single ad in the newspaper typically can create more impressions than a single commercial on television, a single Radio commercial, a single outdoor billboard, or single insertion in any other medium.

    Visuals: The newspaper's combination of text and graphics, when used effectively, can create visual appeal that reinforces the messages of its advertising.

    In-Depth: Newspaper ads have the ability to communicate lengthy, complex or detailed information and descriptions.

    Comparison Shopping: Newspaper is an effective vehicle for price shopping, and serves as the prime source for coupons.

    Ad Variety: The medium offers a variety of ad sizes that allow advertisers to meet their budgetary constraints, from a one-column-inch ad to two full-page ads side by side called a double-truck.

    Ease of Tracking: It's relatively easy to track response, primarily through couponing.

    Lead Time: Advertisers can place orders and copy with a relatively short lead time.

    Exposure: The reader controls the amount of exposure to a given ad. They can spend as much or as little time with an ad as they like.

    Geographic Targeting: Zoned editions of newspapers in large metro areas allow for less than full-run advertising.

  • Decreasing Penetration: Gone are the days when almost every American household subscribed to at least one newspaper. Just after WWII, there were more than 1.2 newspapers in the U.S. for every household. Today, it's 0.4, meaning that on average, a household subscribes to less than half a paper. (RAB Newspaper Performance Reports, based on ABC data, are available for most U.S. markets.) (Knight Foundation, 2011)

    Ad Clutter, No Separation: Your ad placed next to your competitors’ can only be an advantage if your price is absolutely the lowest.

    Passive: The paper provides information once consumers decide to buy, but it does not build brand awareness or create product demand. Newspaper advertising thus works mainly for comparing prices.

    Browsers, Not Readers: Most people don’t read all sections of the paper every day. Ads in a given section reach only those who read that section.

    Can’t Target: It's difficult to accommodate selective approaches that improve your cost efficiency and enhance frequency against clearly defined, high-potential customer segments.

    Declining Ad Revenue: All three major newspaper print ad revenue categories have declined sharply in recent years. When compared to 2010, Retail is down 42% since 2005; National is down 45% since 2003; and Classified is down 67% since 2005. (State of the News Media, 2011)

    New Competition from Outside: One of newspaper's ad categories (classifieds) is under attack both from Internet sites and savvy Radio stations.

    Aging Audience: Newspaper readership skews older (50+).

  • Radio Excels: Where newspaper is deficient, Radio excels. Combining the two in a media mix capitalizes on the advantages of both media.

    Excellent Reach: Radio reaches 72% of every American adults every day, and 93% every week. Using Radio together with newspaper increases the reach of your advertisement among light readers and younger consumers.

    Time: Sixty-two percent of shoppers listened to Radio 13 minutes prior to making a purchase -– providing the greatest "purchase proximity" of all major media. Combining Radio with newspaper allows you to influence more customers and closer to the point of purchase when they are most receptive to critical marketing information.(Radio Marketing Guide, 2011)

    Linear Medium: Radio is a linear medium, unlike newspaper where the reader can skip past ads.

    Intrusive: The success of your marketing strategy depends greatly on how you reach and motivate your customers before their decision to purchase has been made. The intimate power of Radio can stimulate new demand by creating emotional reasons to buy your product and then directing customers to the newspaper for detailed information. It can help maintain loyal customers by keeping your name or brand image top-of-mind.

    Listeners hear commercials: Newspapers like to be judged on how many subscribers or readers they have, not on how many people read an ad. Radio judges itself on how many people are available hear a commercial (Average Quarter Hour). Newspaper readership is more comparable to Radio’s cume audience.

    Targetable: Radio programs many different formats, each attracting a particular demographic or lifestyle listener. Advertisers targeting a specific audience often find Radio more efficient than newspaper.

    Message Frequency: Radio adds impact through message frequency. That means bigger and faster results because repetition sells.

    Radio Advertising Effectiveness Laboratory: Additionally, information in the RAL study on Synergy shows when used in conjunction with newspaper, the use of Radio added 100% of total brand recall when compared to newspaper alone.

    Ad clutter: Radio features commercials one at a time unlike newspaper that often displays multiple ads on the same page, deminishing branding opportunitites.

Other Competitive Media Resources

In this section, you'll find links to information profiling media OTHER than radio. Below are links to Weekly Sales Meetings, Whitepapers, special reports and other articles that you can use to help your advertisers understand the important role of Radio in supporting ANY marketing effort.

Please make your selection from the lists below and don't forget, you can always call RAB's Member Response Helpline at 1-800-232-3131 for more information.