Nationally, newspaper circulation is down 3.5%
in the past 6 months:
Print circulation continues on its steep downward slide, the Audit Bureau of Circulations revealed this morning in releasing the latest numbers for some of the country’s largest dailies in the six-month period ending March 31, 2008. When a full analysis appears it is expected to find, according to sources, the biggest dip yet, about 3.5% daily and 4.5 for Sunday.
Worcester Telegram and Gazette daily circulation was 84,754 at this time last year. Worcester Magazine reports it’s now 81,437, a drop of about 4%.
This is not good, but it’s been worse: the past 2 reporting periods had T&G circulation dropping at 2 times faster and 5 times faster than the national average.
I get the first paragraphs of T&G articles via RSS, and I gotta say I found the first paragraph of Dianne Williamson’s Sunday column insulting enough that I didn’t bother to read the article (until this morning).
As most of you knowâ€” or maybe you donâ€™t, because youâ€™re watching â€œAmerican Idolâ€ rather than reading this newspaper â€” the news business is in trouble.
“[Y]ouâ€™re watching ‘American Idol’ rather than reading this newspaper”? I know this is supposed to be a joke, but I wonder whether it’s also a sign of the disconnect between journalists and readers. Are people no longer subscribing because they’re watching TV, or because they’ve found more useful sources of news and advertising? What’s a better “risk factor” for someone canceling a T&G subscription in 2008, that person’s public engagement, or that person’s age?
What I would like to see the T&G do, speaking as a life-long newspaper fan: take their website seriously, so that I get value by lingering there, rather than wanting to head elsewhere after skimming the headlines.
What may be my biggest frustration where local business is concerned, is watching good business go bad and suffer simply because the owners didnâ€™t want to learn new tricks.
In one sense, circulation data can understate the newspaper industry’s financial challenges. Declining circulation can affect how much a newspaper charges for print advertising, its biggest and most lucrative source of revenue.
But print advertising has been sinking faster than circulation as the slowing economy and new Internet ad platforms like Craigslist have decimated newspaper classified ads, particularly for the help wanted, real estate and automotive categories.
Also: Thoughts from Worcester’s Jeff Barnard, thoughts from Joel Achenbach.
Update: The T&G ran a wire service article on this, but didn’t list their own #s.