Monday, October 27, 2008

Still more bleeding at the papers

Following up on the "media bloodletting" post from just last Friday, the latest newspaper circulation figures are out, and the bleeding (can't think of another metaphor) isn't just continuing, it's speeding up.

Of the top twenty-five papers, twenty-three had significant declines in circulation (this is for the past six months, compared to the same period in 2007). The other two, USA Today and Wall Street Journal, were flat (both were up 0.01%). The Houston Chronicle, Boston Globe, (Newark) Star-Ledger, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Atlanta Journal-Constitution were all down by more than 10%.

The papers will argue (justly) that their website readership offsets, or maybe even more than offsets, these losses. The problem from a financial standpoint is that they haven't been able to monetize that readership, and from the advertisers' standpoint, there are questions whether an online ad pulls like a paper ad -- or like an endcap in a store.

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