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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)

Media age shows newspaper platforms well-distributed:

  • The median age of a newspaper reader is 54
  • The median age of a person visiting a newspaper website is 41
  • The median age of a person viewing a newspaper on their mobile is 39

(Source: Nielsen Scarborough: Media Age of 204,000 Respondents & Media Usage 2017)

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)

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 were published in 2017 than 12 years ago, and circulation has declined dramatically:

  • Daily Newspapers (published 4 or more days per week)
    • There were 1,286 daily papers and 866 Sunday papers as of January 1, 2017;
    • There were 1,457 daily papers and 915 Sunday papers in February ‘05
    • Combined circulation of all dailies in 2017 is 33.4M; Sunday, 37.8M;
    • Combined circulation of all dailies in ‘05 was 54.6M; Sunday, 55.2M
  • Weekly Newspapers (published 1-3 days per week)
    • There were 8,458 weekly papers as of 1/1/17 (7,285 publish once a week)
    • There were 6,659 weekly papers in February ’05  (6,086 published once a week)
    • Combined circulation of all weeklies in 2017 is 126.0M
    • Combined circulation of all weeklies in 2005 was 49.5M
  • Shoppers/Total Market Coverage (TMC) (Publications with less than 25% editorial content)
    • There were 1,245 shopper/TMC publications as of January 1, 2017
    • There were 1,417 shopper/TMC publications in February ‘05
    • Total circulation of all shoppers/TMC publications in 2017 is 42.30M
    • Total circulation of all shoppers/TMC publications in 2005 was 56.8M

(Source: Editor & Publisher International Annual Data Books – Dailies and Weeklies – 2017 and 2005; counts and combined circulation comparisons based on January 1 data for both years)

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)

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.

Readership

  • Print readership varies by age demographic, with older adults more likely to consume print than younger Americans.
  • Daily Sunday
    Adults 18-24 5.1% 5.9%
    Adults 25-34 9.1% 10.5%
    Adults 35-45 11.0% 12.0%
    Adults 45-54 16.4% 17.4
    Adults 55-64 22.4% 21.9%
    Adults 65+ 36.1% 32.2%

    (Source: GfK MRI Doublebase)

    • 92% of U.S. adults read any daily newspaper print addition.
    • 12% of U.S. adults read any daily newspaper e-edition.

    (Source: Nielsen Scarborough USA+ Release 2 2017)

    • Research shows that 89% of the time audiences spend with national newspapers is still in print, with just 7% via mobile devices and 4% via PCs according to a February, 2017 article on Phys.org.
    • 81% of monthly newspaper readers engage with the print product, with 51% reading print exclusively.
    • Adults 21-34 make up 25% of the U.S. population and represent 24% of the total monthly newspaper readership.

    (Source: Nielsen Scarborough USA+ Release 1 2016)

    • Newspaper audiences have traditionally been more educated, affluent and older than non-newspaper readers but digital media has attracted younger readers.
      • 20% of the U.S. population is 55+ - this age group now accounts for 55% of the total daily print or e-edition newspaper audience.
      • 21-34 year-olds make up 25% of the U.S. population and represent 15% of daily print or e-edition newspaper readership.
      • Print or digital readers are more likely to be college graduates and have annual household incomes over $100,000.

    (Source: Nielsen Scarborough USA+ Release 2 2017)

    • 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, 26%
        • International/National News, 14%
        • Business/Finance, 8%
        • Comics, 10%
        • Editorial Page, 10%
        • Entertainment/Lifestyle, 10%
        • Fashion, 4%; Food/Cooking, 11%
        • Health, 10%
        • Home/Home Design/Furnishings/Gardening, 6%
        • Movie Listings & Reviews, 7%
        • Science & Technology, 6%
        • Sports, 13%; Travel, 6%
        • TV Listings, 6%
        • Weather, 15%
        • Advertisements, 7%
        • Circulars/Inserts/Fliers, 10%
        • Classified Advertising, 8%.
      • Sunday/Weekend papers
        • Front page, 25%
        • International/National News, 14%
        • Local News, 22%
        • Business/Finance, 8%
        • Comics, 12%
        • Editorial page, 9%
        • Entertainment/Lifestyle, 12%
        • Fashion, 5%
        • Food/Cooking, 10%
        • Health, 9%
        • Home/Home Design/Furnishings/Gardening, 7%
        • Movie Listings & Reviews, 7%
        • Science & Technology, 7%
        • Sports, 13%
        • Travel, 7%
        • TV Listings, 6%
        • Weather, 12%
        • Advertisements, 9%
        • Circulars/Inserts/Fliers, 14%
        • Classified Advertising, 8%

    (Source: GfK MRI Doublebase)

    • On the positive side for print newspaper advertisers, consumers are mainly receptive to ads in this medium.
      • 75% of readers trust an ad in a national print newspaper "some" or "a lot"
      • 79% of trust an ad in a local paper "some" or "a lot"
      • 58% of national newspaper readers say they are "somewhat" or "very" likely to purchased after seeing an ad.Becoming aware of a sale (61%)
      • 66% of local newspaper readers sat they are "somewhat" or "very" likely to purchase after seeing an ad

    (Source: News Media Alliance 2017)

    • Based on a survey of 8000+ consumers:

      • Only 3% stated that newspaper is the most trusted source
      • Only 4% see newspaper as the most accurate source
      • Only 3% turn to newspapers as a source when making a purchase

    (Source: Burke study for Local Search Association – 2017, published 2018)

    • According to a Statista survey, 7% of P16+ stated that print newspaper ads are very annoying and 11% kind of annoying

    (Source: Statista, May 2017 survey of 1037 respondents)

    Revenue

    • Digital advertising in the newspaper market is simply not growing quickly enough (2016-2021 CAGR of 2.2%) to offset print advertising losses (CAGR of -12.6%).
    • Forecast to account for 29.8% of newspaper ad revenues this year, digital is expected to grow to 44.6% share of revenues in 2021.
    • Meanwhile, each of the three major segments of print advertising (classified, national and retail) is predicted to drop by an annual rate in the double digits, with classified having the worst outlook (of -13.3%).

    (Source: Source: Marketing Charts 2017)

    • 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 digital newspaper industry revenue forecast is estimated to grow by 9.8% annually from 2015 to 2020 whereas non-digital revenue is estimated to decline 3% annually during the same timeframe.

    (Source: Statista – U.S. Newspaper Industry – Statistics & Facts)

    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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