AP Reports That Newspaper Circulation Is Worse Than It Looks

Nov 23rd, 2009 | By | Category: General, Podcasting Statistics

newspaperThe decline of traditional newspapers isn’t as bad as it looks – it’s worse.

According to an Associated Press story, newspapers are loosing subscribers at a staggering rate, but you wouldn’t know it from their circulation figures because they’ve changed the way they count circulation:

Since April 1, new auditing rules have made it easier for newspapers to count a reader as a paying customer.

These looser standards are especially helpful to a newspaper if it sells an “electronic edition.” That can include a subscriber-only Web site, such as what The Wall Street Journal has, or it can be a digital replica of a newspaper’s printed product.

Under the new auditing standards, if a newspaper sells a “bundled” subscription to both the print and electronic editions, the publication is often allowed to count that subscriber twice.

If not for these rules, the industry’s numbers would look even worse. Average weekday circulation at 379 U.S. newspapers fell 10.6 percent during the six months ending in September.

Between inflated print numbers and fuzzy tracking of unique visitors on the Web, is it any wonder advertisers are confused these days?

Image: just.Luc (just.Censored)

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2 Responses to “AP Reports That Newspaper Circulation Is Worse Than It Looks”

  1. Newspapers have always been struggling since TV came along. The Internet is just another nail in the coffin. It's just a change that's overdue.

    I suspect many larger papers will transition over to the Internet, bringing advertisers with them, while many smaller papers will disappear. But there will still be some who manage to work out a way to stay in print, even if it means giving the papers away for free (as a few do).

  2. Newspapers have always been struggling since TV came along. The Internet is just another nail in the coffin. It's just a change that's overdue.

    I suspect many larger papers will transition over to the Internet, bringing advertisers with them, while many smaller papers will disappear. But there will still be some who manage to work out a way to stay in print, even if it means giving the papers away for free (as a few do).

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