[Marxism] Newspaper readership among young is declining
lnp3 at panix.com
Tue May 3 11:06:08 MDT 2005
NY Times, May 3, 2005
Newspapers' Circulation Still Going Down
By ERIC DASH
Newspaper circulation continues to tumble.
The industry reported yesterday a 1.9 percent drop in daily circulation,
and a 2.5 percent decline on Sundays, over the last six months, compared
with the period a year ago. The weak numbers for 814 daily newspapers,
reported by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, represent the largest
circulation losses for the industry in more than a decade, and indicate an
acceleration of the decline. The rate of decline has been 0.5 percent to 1
percent since newspaper circulation peaked in the mid-1980's, analysts said.
"I don't see any bright spots and I don't see any reasonable expectation
this is going to change anytime soon," said John Morton, a longtime
newspaper industry analyst. "The Internet may have exacerbated the trend,
but this is a problem that existed long before the Internet became ubiquitous."
John Murray, vice president for circulation marketing for the Newspaper
Association of America, said, "The smallest newspapers did a little bit
better than the average."
Only 3 out of 10 newspapers gained in daily circulation, and only 1 in 4
papers gained on Sunday. "This is a decline that has been going on for many
years and we're looking at more of the same," said Colby Atwood, a media
analyst for Borrell Associates. "The underlying forces at work have not
changed. That young people aren't reading newspapers is a pretty fatal
formula for any business. If all your customers are dying off, you've got
to be concerned, and that's what's happening in the newspaper industry."
Among the newspapers that showed the biggest declines were the large
regional dailies owned by the Tribune Company, which has been shaken by a
circulation scandal at Newsday, its newspaper on Long Island. The Los
Angeles Times, owned by Tribune, reported daily circulation fell 6.5
percent, to 907,997, and Sunday circulation fell 7.9 percent. The Chicago
Tribune said its average weekday circulation fell 6.9 percent, to 573,743,
and Sunday fell 4.7 percent, to 953,815.
Both newspapers issued statements acknowledging the declines and saying
they were investing heavily to improve results. A spokesman for Newsday
said it would not release circulation numbers until the audit bureau
completed its audit of the six months ended in March.
The Dallas Morning News, which is owned by the Belo Corporation and which
also had a circulation scandal, did not report numbers but said it expected
circulation to fall 9 percent daily, and 13 percent on Sunday.
Newspapers with national circulation strategies fared slightly better. The
Wall Street Journal said its weekday circulation declined 0.8 percent, to
about 2.07 million after aggressive price increases. USA Today held steady
with an average circulation of about 2.8 million, despite raising its price
to 75 cents from 50 cents in the last six months. And buoyed by the growth
of its national editions, The New York Times posted 0.2 percent gains.
Daily circulation rose to 1.14 million and Sunday circulation reached about
"We have had a very strong expansion plan for increasing the availability
of The New York Times outside the New York marketplace, and it's been very
successful," said Catherine Mathis, The Times's spokeswoman. She said that
home delivery had expanded to 318 markets from 266 and that seven printing
sites would be added in the next 18 months.
Newspapers have lost readers to the Internet, which offers much news for
free. Readership among the young, in particular, has declined. Executives
at The Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times attribute at least part of
their troubles to the introduction of a "do not call" list in 2003, which
has made it harder for telemarketers to sell subscriptions.
"There's a collision of factors," said John Kimball, chief marketing
officer for the newspaper association. "Newspapers are in the marketplace
of ideas, and there are a lot more options than there were 10 or 15 years ago."
Mr. Kimball said newspapers were trying new ways to retain subscribers,
including billing to credit or debit cards so they do not have to go out of
their way to renew. Other papers are offering alternative publications like
tabloids geared to younger readers or fast-growing populations, like Hispanics.
Mr. Atwood, the analyst, said that he expected the circulation of
traditional newspapers to continue to decline but that there was hope for
papers that change their models. "We'll begin to see papers depart from the
traditional models, and that will slow their decline," he said. "The smart
ones will start diversifying out of their former core businesses and
positioning themselves to be out of it before it's too late."
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