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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.

  • 7% of A18+ read any daily newspaper
  • 6% of A18+ read any one daily newspaper 
  • 1% of A18+ read any two or more daily newspapers
  • 13% of A18+ read any Sunday newspaper
  • 12% of A18+ read any one Sunday newspaper
  • 2% of A18+ read any two or more Sunday newspapers

Newspaper consumers are now reading digitally. 

  • 67% of 18+ read or looked into any digital version of a newspaper

(Source: 2023 MRI-Simmons Spring)

  • 218 Million adults 18+ access news and information from newspapers every month.

(Source: America's Newspaper, 2023 Local Newspaper Study)

  • 63% of newspaper readers access local news through both print and digital newspaper platforms.

(Source: America's Newspaper, 2023 Local Newspaper Study)

  • 74% of adults 18+ believe that it is important to have local newspapers provide community news & information.

(Source: America's Newspaper, 2023 Local Newspaper Study)

  • Almost 6 out of 10 adults 18+ use newspaper advertising to help them decide what brands, products and local services to buy.

(Source: America's Newspaper, 2023 Local Newspaper Study)

  • Today's newspaper readers:
    • 49% are male
    • 51% are female
    • 78% are under the age of 65
    • 67% of households earn $50k+ annually
    • 57% are employed
    • 38% are college grads or higher
    • 35% have children in the home
    • 71% lived in the community for 5+ years

(Source: America's Newspaper, 2023 Local Newspaper Study)

  • 66% of adults 18+ believe that publishing public notes in newspapers should be required.

(Source: America's Newspaper, 2023 Local Newspaper Study)

  • 57% of adults 18+ report that newspapers and newspaper sites are "more reliable" that city, county, or state websites for accessing public notes.

(Source: America's Newspaper, 2023 Local Newspaper Study)

  • 63% of adults 18+ believe that newspapers and newspaper websites are "more concerned about the community" than city,/count websites or state websites.

(Source: America's Newspaper, 2023 Local Newspaper Study)

  • 43% of adults 18+ feel like newspapers are the most accurate source of original news reporting.

(Source: America's Newspaper, 2023 Local Newspaper Study)

  • Top 5 most read daily newspapers by U.S. adults
    • Daily News - 32%
    • New York Post - 28%
    • USA Today - 25%
    • The New York Times - 23%
    • Los Angeles Times - 22%

(Source: Statista Global Consumer Survey, 2022)

  • Top 10 largest newspapers (by print circulation) in the U.S.:
    • Wallstreet Journal - 609.65k
    • The New York Times - 296.33k
    • Washington Post - 139.23k
    • New York Post - 135.98k
    • USA Today - 132.62k
    • Los Angeles Times - 118.76k
    • Star Tribune - 91.92k
    • Newsday - 86.85k
    • Chicago Tribune - 82.19k
    • Tampa Bay Times - 81.89k

(Source: Alliance for Audited Media, Q1 2023)

  • Platforms adults 18+ use to access newspaper content:
    • Website - 67%
    • Social Media - 59%
    • Daily/Sunday Newspaper - 51%
    • App - 51%
    • Email Newsletter - 50%

(Source: America's Newspaper, 2023 Local Newspaper Study)

  • News consumption across platforms in 2023:
    • Digital Devices:
      • Often - 56%
      • Sometimes - 29%
      • Rarely - 8%
      • Never - 6%
    • Print Publications:
      • Often - 9%
      • Sometimes - 28%
      • Rarely - 33%
      • Never - 30%

    (Source: Pew Research Center, Survey of U.S. adults conducted Sept. 25 - Oct. 1, 2023)

  • Digital news platforms preferences in 2023:
    • 25% of U.S. adults prefer news websites or apps for getting news
    • 15% of U.S. adults prefer search for getting news
    • 12% of U.S. adults prefer social media for getting news
    • 6% of U.S. adults prefer podcasts for getting news

    (Source: Pew Research Center, Survey of U.S. adults conducted Sept. 25 - Oct. 1, 2023)

    • The total number of local newspapers (nondaily and daily) has decreased from 8,891 in 2005 to 6,005 in 2023.

    (Source: Local News Initiative 2023, The State of Local News 2023)

    • Total number of local U.S. newspapers in 2023:
      • Non-daily - 4,792
      • Daily - 1,213

    (Source: Local News Initiative 2023, The State of Local News 2023)

    • The newspaper landscape is comprised of four layers:
      • National Newspapers - 4
      • Metro and regional dailies - 150
      • Small and midsized dailies - 1,063
      • Weeklies and nondailies - 4,762
    • Print and digital circulation:
      • 10.2 million in 2023
      • 50 million+ in 2005

    (Source: Local News Initiative 2023, The State of Local News 2023)

    • Top 10 largest owners in 2023 by number of papers owned:
      • Gannett/Gatehouse - 390 total papers
      • Alden Capital - 174 total papers
      • Adams Publishing Group - 148 total papers
      • Lee Enterprises - 146 total papers
      • Paxton Media Group - 115 total papers
      • CNHI - 96 total papers
      • Ogden Newspapers - 81 total papers
      • CherryRoad Media - 76 total papers
      • Boone Newspaper/Carpenter - 54 total papers
      • Hearst Corporation - 46 total papers

    (Source: Local News Initiative 2023, The State of Local News 2023)

    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 - 23%
        • International/National News - 14%
        • Local News – 21%
        • Business/Finance - 8%
        • Classified Advertising – 4%
        • Comics - 8%
        • Editorial Page - 9%
        • Entertainment/Lifestyle - 8%
        • Fashion - 3%
        • Food/Cooking – 8%
        • Health - 8%
        • Home/Home Design/Furnishings/Gardening - 5%
        • Movie Listings & Reviews - 4%
        • Science & Technology - 7%
        • Sports - 9%
        • Travel - 5%
        • TV Listings - 3%
        • Weather - 10%
        • Advertisements - 4%
        • Circulars/Inserts/Fliers - 7%
      • Sunday/Weekend papers
        • Front page - 23%
        • International/National News - 14%
        • Local News - 19%
        • Business/Finance - 8%
        • Classified Advertising – 5%
        • Comics - 11%
        • Editorial page - 9%
        • Entertainment/Lifestyle - 11%
        • Fashion - 4%
        • Food/Cooking - 10%
        • 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 - 10%

    (Source: 2023 MRI-Simmons Spring Doublebase)

    Attitudes towards newspapers of A18+

    • 53% say newspapers are a good source of learning
    • 49% say that reading a newspaper makes them think
    • 48% say that newspapers keep them informed/up to date
    • 16% say that newspaper give them good ideas
    • 18% say that they enjoy ads in newspaper

    (Source: 2023 MRI-Simmons Spring Doublebase)

    • Share of Americans who read newspapers daily within the past 2 weeks as of June 2023, by age:
      • 18-29: 16%
      • 30-49: 24%
      • 50-64: 16%

    (Source: Statista, June 2023)

    • Percentage (%) of U.S. adults who say they currently buy physical newspapers, by age:
      • 18-29: 11%
      • 30-44: 20%
      • 45-64: 22%
      • 65+: 37%
      • Overall: 23%

    (Source: Marketing Charts, U.S. Adults' Print Newspaper Purchases, February 2023)

    • Ways that different generational groups would like to have newspaper content delivered:
      • Gen Z (18-24):
        • Social Media - 54%
        • Daily News Websites - 45%
        • Breaking news emails - 33%
      • Millenials (25-39):
        • Social Media - 48%
        • Daily News Websites - 45%
        • Breaking news emails - 37%
      • Gen X (40-59):
        • Daily News Websites - 47%
        • Breaking news emails - 41%
        • Home delivered daily paper - 41%
      • Boomers (60-74):
        • Daily News Websites - 43%
        • Breaking news emails - 38%
        • Home delivered daily paper - 31%
      • Silent Gen (75+):
        • Home delivered daily paper - 40%
        • Daily News Websites - 38%
        • Breaking news emails - 36%

      (Source: America's Newspaper, 2023 Local Newspaper Study)

      • Frequency of daily newspaper reading for a source of news by ethnicity:
        • White: 12%
        • Hispanic: 12%
        • Black: 11%
        • Other: 9%

      (Source: Statista, February 2022)

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

      (Source: Statista, June 2022)

      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:
      News/Media Alliance:
      http://www.naa.org/

      National Newspaper Association (NNA):
      http://nnaweb.org/resources

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

      Pew Research Center:
      https://www.pewresearch.org/topic/news-habits-media/news-media-trends/news-platforms-sources/newspapers/