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Newspaper

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The U.S. newspaper industry has history going all the way back to the colonies.  Newspapers enjoyed a long reign not only as the primary source of news and information, but also as the main advertising vehicle for brands, retailers, and even individuals within their markets.

Newspaper publishers faced and survived major challenges over the years from short broadcast newscasts on radio and TV, radio all-news formats, television news programs, and 24-hour cable news channel cycles, retaining subscribers and revenue streams.

In the 21st century, however, online and digital platforms affording real-time news coverage – including personalized news delivery – have made immediacy the order of the day.  Publishers literally are faced with an “adapt or die” proposition.  Some are adapting innovative strategies to expand their digital services to the consumer – others have closed down.

Newspaper Counts and Circulation

The estimated total U.S. daily and Sunday newspaper circulation is steadily decreasing over the years.

  • 2015
    • Weekday: 37,711,860 Sunday: 40,955,458
  • 2016
    • Weekday: 34,657,199 Sunday: 37,801,888
  • 2017
    • Weekday: 30,948,419 Sunday: 33,971,695

Sunday remains in the lead for the highest circulation day among U.S. newspapers.

(Source: Pew Research Center - Newspaper Fact Sheet June 2018)

While circulation of physical copies are down, digital circulation is growing. The average monthly unique visitors of the 50 top U.S. newspaper are as follows:

  • 2015: 9,709,071
  • 2016: 11,734,536
  • 2017: 11,527,744

(Source: Pew Research Center - Newspaper Fact Sheet June 2018)

The average minutes per website visit of the top 50 U.S. newspapers are:

  • 2015: 2.59
  • 2016: 2.45    
  • 2017: 2.44

(Source: Pew Research Center - Newspaper Fact Sheet June 2018)

Average per-paper circulation of the top 20 U.S. alt-weeklies by circulation      

  • 2015: 65,936
  • 2016: 61,654
  • 2017: 55,347

(Source: Pew Research Center - Newspaper Fact Sheet June 2018)

Newspaper publishers are changing their business models to curtail costs, expand access to content via digital platforms:

  • Reduction of home delivery schedules to 3 or 4 days a week, including Sunday
  • Some publications adopting these schedules continue to offer print editions at newsstands and other points
  • Others offer digital-only options on non-delivery days

Recognized channels for audited newspaper circulation data by the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM), formerly known as the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), are:

  • Print distribution (individually paid, business/traveler distribution such as hotels and airlines, and consumer copies that are non-paid or paid by someone other than the individual)
  • Digital Replica:  Digital format containing all editorial and ROP ad content; may contain additional editorial and advertising.  Circulation numbers not synonymous with daily Website visitors, page views, or other common web traffic terms
  • Digital Non-Replica:  Digital format with same name of paper’s AAM membership; may contain different editorial or advertising from the print version.  Circulation numbers not synonymous with daily Website visitors, page views, or other common web traffic terms
  • Affiliated Publications: Print and/or digital editions reflecting a different name than AAM member; may contain audience-focused, alternative language or community papers

Holiday Insert Numbers

  • 44% purchased something for the 2017 holiday they did not otherwise anticipate on purchasing due to an insert
  • 49% were relying on inserts/ads to help them stick to a specific budget while shopping for the holidays
  • 52% anticipated using inserts for their holiday shopping
  • 58% saved an estimated 11% by using inserts
  • 66% strongly or somewhat agree with the statement “I check coupons/ads in a newspaper when I am shopping for a special event.”

(Source: News Media Alliance – Newspaper Inserts Influence and Drive Newspaper Consumption 2018)

Publishing

Fewer newspapers are published today than 12 years ago, and circulation has declined dramatically:

  • Number of Community Weeklies:
    • Paid Weeklies: 3,377
    • Free Weeklies: 1,180
    • Combined Weeklies: 1,467
    • Total: 6,033
  • Circulation of U.S. Paid Weekly Newspapers:
    • Paid Circulation: 12.7MM
    • Associated Free Circulation: 77.4K
    • Total Circulation: 12.8MM
  • Circulation of U.S. Free Weekly Newspapers:
    • Free Circulation: 22.8MM
    • Associated Paid Circulation: 77.2K
    • Total Circulation: 22.9MM

(Source: 97th Annual Editor & Publisher Data Book, 2018 Weeklies)

  • Between 2004 and 2018, the U.S. has lost nearly 1,800 physical papers including more than 60 dailies and 1,700 weeklies.

(Source: UNC; The Expanding News Desert, 2018)

Newspaper Inserts

Newspaper inserts are said to influence shopping and drive newspaper consumption habits.

  • 38% of Americans look for coupons in newspapers
  • 55% of Americans have purchased a single issue to access offers
  • 56% of Americans somewhat or strongly agree with, “I use the ads inserted in a newspaper to learn about new products.”
  • 68% of Americans would remove an insert they were planning to use and physically bring it to a store.
  • 75% of Americans take advantage of newspaper coupons at least one a month.

(Source: News Media Alliance – Newspaper Inserts Influence and Drive Newspaper Consumption 2018)

Print Newspaper subscribers are twice as likely to say their primary reason for buying a newspaper is to get coupons and deals, stay informed about sports and weather and stay informed about international news.

(Source: News Media Alliance – Newspaper Inserts Influence and Drive Newspaper Consumption 2018)

Readership

  • Print readership varies by age demographic. Older adults more likely to consume print than younger Americans.
    • Adults 18-24
      • Daily: 8%
      • Sunday: 12%
    • Adults 25-34
      • Daily: 10%
      • Sunday: 15%
    • Adults 35-44
      • Daily: 12%
      • Sunday: 18%
    • Adults 45-54
      • Daily: 16%
      • Sunday: 13%
    • Adults 55-64
      • Daily: 23%
      • Sunday: 31%
    • Adults 65+
      • Daily: 36%
      • Sunday: 44%

(Source: GfK MRI Doublebase 2018)

  • Newspaper readership by age:
    • 28% - A18-34
    • 22% - A35-49
    • 35% - A50-69
    • 15% - A70+

(Source: IBISWorld, Newspaper Publishing, 2018)

  • Many print newspaper advertisers like to “target” consumers by placing their ads in special sections of the paper. However, among those adults who read print newspapers, only a small percentage of actually read every section – many readers will never be exposed to advertising.
    • Weekday papers
      • Front page - 24%
      • International/National News - 13%
      • Local News – 24%
      • Business/Finance - 8%
      • Classified Advertising – 8%
      • Comics - 10%
      • Editorial Page - 9%
      • Entertainment/Lifestyle - 9%
      • Fashion - 4%
      • Food/Cooking – 10%
      • Health - 9%
      • Home/Home Design/Furnishings/Gardening - 6%
      • Movie Listings & Reviews - 6%
      • Science & Technology - 6%
      • Sports - 12%
      • Travel - 5%
      • TV Listings - 6%
      • Weather - 14%
      • Advertisements - 7%
      • Circulars/Inserts/Fliers - 9%
    • Sunday/Weekend papers
      • Front page - 23%
      • International/National News - 13%
      • Local News - 20%
      • Business/Finance - 7%
      • Classified Advertising – 7%
      • Comics - 11%
      • Editorial page - 9%
      • Entertainment/Lifestyle - 11%
      • Fashion - 4%
      • Food/Cooking - 9%
      • Health - 8%
      • Home/Home Design/Furnishings/Gardening - 6%
      • Movie Listings & Reviews -7%
      • Science & Technology - 6%
      • Sports - 12%
      • Travel - 7%
      • TV Listings - 5%
      • Weather - 11%
      • Advertisements - 8%
      • Circulars/Inserts/Fliers - 13%

(Source: GfK MRI Doublebase 2018)

  • In 2018, 23% of A18+ said they have a great deal of confidence in newspapers, slightly down from 27% in 2017

(Source: Statista; Confidence in Newspapers in the US, 2018)

  • 90% of consumers say that their community papers keep them informed 
  • 73% of consumers say that their community papers provide valuable local shopping and advertising information

(Source: National Newspaper Association’s 2018 Readership Survey)

  • 44% of A18+ somewhat/strongly agree that advertisements in a newspaper provides them with useful information about bargains
  • 36% of A18+ somewhat/strongly agree that newspapers provide them with useful information about new products and services
  • 21% of A18+ somewhat/strongly agree that all advertisements in newspapers are alike
  • 47% of A18+ agree that newspapers are a good source of learning
  • 46% of A18+ say that newspapers make them think
  • 45% of A18+ say that newspapers keep them informed and up to date

(Source: GfK MRI Doublebase 2018)

  • In 2019, 52% of A18-64 purchased a daily newspaper as a part of a subscription while 51% purchased as a single issue.

(Source: Statista; 2019)

Revenue:

  • Overall newspaper ad revenue is expected to coninuously decline between this this 2018 ($15.8B) and 2022 ($12.6B)
  • Digital advertising in the newspaper market is simply not growing quickly enough (2017-2022 CAGR of 2.2%) to offset print advertising losses (CAGR of -10.4%)
  • In 2018, print newspaper ad revenues accounted for 33% while digital is expected to grow to 45.1% by 2022
  • Each of the three major segments of print advertising (classified, national and retail) is predicted to drop by an annual rate of 9%, with classified having the worst outlook of -11.0%

(Source: Marketing Charts; US Online & Traditional Media Advertising Outlook, 2018-2022)

  • Freedonia Group’s "Newspaper Publishing: United States," concludes that newspaper recenue will decline 2.6% annually through 2022.
  • The overall rate of decline between 2018 and 2022 shows sings of improvement with annual losses lessening from the preceding decade.

(Source: Freedonia Group’s "Newspaper Publishing: United States" 2018)

The total estimated newspaper industry advertising revenue for 2017 was $16.5 billion, which is a 10% decrease from 2016.

  • Percentage of newspaper advertising coming from digital advertising is increasing year over year:
    • 2015: 25%
    • 2016: 29%
    • 2017: 31%

(Source: Pew Research Center - Newspaper Fact Sheet June 2018)

For additional information/insights on Newspapers:
Newspaper Association of America (NAA):
http://www.naa.org/

National Newspaper Association (NNA):
http://nnaweb.org/resources
http://nnaweb.org/about-nna?articleCategory=community-facts-figures

Alliance for Audited Media (AAM)
http://www.auditedmedia.com/

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