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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 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

Newspaper readership

Overall, consumers reading traditional print newspapers are declining as digital newspaper readership numbers are on the rise. Convenience and technology are key when consuming print now.

  • 16% of A18+ read any daily newspaper
  • 12% of A18+ read any one daily newspaper 
  • 4% of A18+ read any two or more daily newspapers
  • 20% of A18+ read any Sunday newspaper
  • 17% of A18+ read any one Sunday newspaper
  • 3% read any two or more Sunday newspapers

Newspaper consumers are now reading digitally. 

  • 51% of 18+ read or looked into any digital version of a newspaper

(Source: 2021 MRI-Simmons Fall Doublebase)

  • Top 5 most read daily newspapers by U.S. adults
    • Daily News - 27%
    • The New York Times - 26%
    • USA Today - 25%
    • New York Post - 24%
    • Los Angeles Times - 19%

(Source: Statista Global Consumer Survey, November 2021)

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 - 22%
      • International/National News - 13%
      • Local News – 20%
      • Business/Finance - 8%
      • Classified Advertising – 4%
      • Comics - 8%
      • Editorial Page - 9%
      • Entertainment/Lifestyle - 8%
      • Fashion - 3%
      • Food/Cooking – 8%
      • Health - 7%
      • Home/Home Design/Furnishings/Gardening - 5%
      • Movie Listings & Reviews - 4%
      • Science & Technology - 6%
      • Sports - 9%
      • Travel - 5%
      • TV Listings - 4%
      • Weather - 10%
      • Advertisements - 4%
      • Circulars/Inserts/Fliers - 8%
    • Sunday/Weekend papers
      • Front page - 22%
      • International/National News - 13%
      • Local News - 18%
      • Business/Finance - 8%
      • Classified Advertising – 4%
      • Comics - 11%
      • Editorial page - 9%
      • Entertainment/Lifestyle - 10%
      • Fashion - 4%
      • Food/Cooking - 9%
      • Health - 8%
      • Home/Home Design/Furnishings/Gardening - 6%
      • Movie Listings & Reviews -5%
      • Science & Technology - 7%
      • Sports - 10%
      • Travel - 7%
      • TV Listings - 4%
      • Weather - 10%
      • Advertisements - 6%
      • Circulars/Inserts/Fliers - 11%

(Source: 2021 MRI-Simmons Fall Doublebase)

Attitudes towards newspapers of A18+

  • 51% say newspapers are a good source of learning
  • 48% say that reading a newspaper makes them think
  • 48% say that newspapers keep them informed/up to date
  • 20% said they trust newspapers the most
  • 16% say that newspaper give them good ideas
  • 16% say that they enjoy ads in newspaper

(Source: 2021 MRI-Simmons Fall Doublebase)

  • Frequency of daily newspaper reading for a source of news by age:
    • 18-34: 8%
    • 35-44: 12%
    • 45-64: 11%
    • 65+: 25%

(Source: The Hollywood Reporter; Morning Consult, May 2021)

  • Devices used for reading online news
    • Smartphone - 60%
    • Computer/laptop - 45%
    • Tablet - 18%

(Source: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism; YouGov, 2021)

Revenue:

Newspaper companies have been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak. Pew Research Center analyzed six publicly traded newspaper companies that own over 300 daily newspapers and found an overall 42% decrease in ad revenue.

  • Ad revenue share of decrease by company:
    • Gannett: -35%
    • NY Times: -44%
    • Tribune: -48%
    • McClatchy: -46%
    • Lee: -37%
    • Belo: -40%

(Source: Pew Research Center, The financial state of the U.S. news media in the second quarter of 2020)

  • 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)

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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