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Fading Ink

Fading Ink. All recent print metrics – daily and Sunday newspaper circulation, ad revenues, newsroom employment, daily and Sunday newspaper readership demographics and magazine newsstand and subscription sales – were on a steady downward course.

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Fading Ink

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  1. Fading Ink • All recent print metrics – daily and Sunday newspaper circulation, ad revenues, newsroom employment, daily and Sunday newspaper readership demographics and magazine newsstand and subscription sales – were on a steady downward course. • After 10 consecutive years of circulation declines (September 2003–September 2012), daily newspapers achieved a 3% increase during September 2013, only to see it reverse again, with a 3.3% decrease for September 2014. • Sunday newspaper’s circulation declined every year, September 2003–September 2011. Circulation increased 0.6% during September 2012 and 1.6% for September 2013, but then decreased the same as dailies, or 3.3%, for September 2014.

  2. Magazine Circulation Degradation • Similarly, overall circulation of consumer magazines decreased seven consecutive years, 2008–2014, with 2014’s 2.2% decline equally the highest for the period, 2009’s 2.2% decrease. • Although subscriptions recorded increases during 2011 and 2012, they were negligible to non-existent, at 0.04% and 0.5%, respectively, but then decreased 1.16% for 2014. • Single-copy, or newsstand, sales suffered the most during this seven-year period, averaging a bit more than a 10% decline per year and performing the worst during 2014, decreasing 14.2%

  3. Ad Revenue Armageddon • Total 2014 ad revenues for US newspapers decreased 4.0%, but this was an “improvement” on the previous four years, which averaged a 9.4% decrease. • Newspapers’ digital ad revenues increased 16.7% from 2010 through 2014, but didn’t equal print ad revenues decrease during the same period, of 39.0%. • In addition, total digital ad revenues were stagnant for 2012, 2013 and 2014, at 3.4 billion, 3.4 billion and 3.5 billion, respectively.

  4. Shrinking Newsrooms • Total full-time employment of journalists at almost 1,400 daily US newspapers decreased 10.4%, from 2013’s 36,700 to 2014’s 32,900. • Although employment of minority journalists has been relatively stable for more than 10 years, there were 700 fewer of them during 2014. • Two bright spots for journalists were newspapers with daily circulations of 250,000 to 500,000, which increased the number employed by 13.98%, and newspapers with daily circulations less than 5,000, recording a 15.9% increase.

  5. Miserable Readership Metrics • During 2014, the print version of newspapers was the top readership platform, at 56%. The print/desktop combination lost a bit more than 25% of its audience from 2013 to 2014, and mobile continued to gain, although at a small percentage. • Of four readership metrics for daily and Sunday newspapers – age, income, education and ethnicity – only Sunday by income remained relatively the same from 2013 to 2014, while daily readership by income decreased 9.2%. • Although it is statistically accurate that most newspapers readers are white, and with more education and income, the differences are relatively minor. For example, 33% of whites read daily papers, compared to 28% of African Americans.

  6. Magazines Continue to Mobilize • The Q1 2015 total brand audience monthly average for 145 magazines, or 95% of the reader universe, increased 10.2%, compared to Q1 2014; however, the mobile channel increased 65.3%, compared to 0.2% for print+digital and 0.4% for PCs. • As measure by seven categories of consumer magazines – epicurean, health/fitness, men’s fashion and grooming, newsweeklies, shelter, travel and women’s fashion – mobile gained share and print+digital and desktop/laptop lost share. • Although the percentage of American adults who read digital edition magazines is still very small, the share has increased from 1.4% during 2011 to 6.0% for 2014, as overall circulation decreased.

  7. Magazines Are the Medium for the Wealthy • Of adults 18+ with an annual household income of $75,000 or more, 66% had considerable or some interest in any advertising seen in a print-edition magazine and 70% in a digital edition during the past 30 days (October 2014). • For those with incomes of $150,000 or more, the results were 56% and 62%, respectively. Digital- and print-edition magazines were #1 and #2, respectively, of 14 media channels measured. • Print magazines recorded a higher index than the Internet, TV and radio for luxury goods spending for a premium brand vehicle, $3,000+ in fine watches/fine jewelry, $10,000+ in apparel and accessories and $2,000+ for beauty products.

  8. The Tale of Two Newspaper Towns • In Portland, Oregon, a progressive city with a population skewed toward the young, 38.5% of adults, 18–34, were not exposed to the daily paper and 37.8% to the Sunday paper during summer 2015. • In Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida, the home of many retirees, fewer Millennials were not exposed to either edition of the newspaper and more adults, 55+, than Portland, but this is attributable to fewer total Millennials and many more adults, 55+. • Only 12.5% of Millennials in Portland, and this was the 25–34 age group, had heavy exposure to newspapers, 60 or more minutes per day, while in Sarasota-Bradenton, 73.1 percent of adults, 55+ had heavy exposure.

  9. Newspapers’ Digital Dilemma • According to an April 2015 report from the Newspaper Association of America, a digital audience of 176 million adult unique visitors accessed newspaper content during March 2015, a 10% increase over March 2014, and the largest total ever. • The largest percentage (40%) was exclusively using the mobile channel, compared to 29% during March 2014. Those using a mobile and desktop/laptop device were 29% and those engaged with newspaper content via a PC only were 31%. • Since smartphone penetration is highest among young adults and they are the heaviest mobile users, this data suggest that they are certainly interested in news content, but choose to access and engage it via the digital channel.

  10. Mobile Demographic Drivers • When dissecting the newspaper digital audience that only accessed content through a mobile device, men, 18–24 and 35-44 increased 68% and 65%, respectively. • Interestingly, it was men, 55+ and women, 45-54, who had the largest increases, at 79% and 81%, respectively. • A possible conclusion is that more upper middle-aged adults and seniors are turning to their mobile devices for news content.

  11. Social News • The percentages of Americans accessing news on Facebook increased from 47% during 2013 to 63% for 2015. Twitter had a similar increase, from 52% to 63%. • It’s not that the user base of Facebook and Twitter has increased, but more current visitors are discovering news content on these sites. This mirrors both sites’ 2015 strategies to focus more of its content choices on news. • Both Facebook and Twitter have the same share of Americans accessing news on their sites; however, 59% of Twitter users, compared to 31% of Facebook users, follow breaking news.

  12. Newspapers’ Negligible Digital Traffic • Where Americans are not accessing news content online is local newspapers’ Websites. According to an April 2015 study, of the 3% of Internet traffic to news sites, national news outlets receive 85% and local news the other 15%. • This small number is then further divided, with local newspapers and TV and radio stations each claiming a share. The study further reports that local newspaper Websites account for only 5 minutes per month per Internet user. • With digital responsible for only 17.6% of all 2014 newspaper ad revenues and the printed version’s share decreasing precipitously, time is quickly expiring for newspapers to attract a much larger, subscription-paying digital audience and the advertisers that would follow them.

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