Measuring newspapers

In a priceless admission, the President and general manager of the Washington Post reacts to some good news by saying, "but you wouldn't know that to read the newspapers."    

I've been saying that for years now. Unfortunately the good news was not about Iraq or a surprisingly strong job market.  The story is about some good numbers that came out of the recent Audit Bureau of Circulation report on newspaper readership. While print readership declined, sometimes sharply, (the New York Times reports a 4.5% drop in weekly circulation and a 7.6% drop in Sunday circulation) for the first time the number for online readership for more than 200 newspapers in their home markets has been included in the Audit Bureau of Circulation report.  

When the online readership numbers are included, the picture looks brighter for the newspaper industry. But the president of Scarborough Reports, the company that preformed the on line analysis, reports that in the last two years their analysis of 88 major papers showed that about half had seen no significant change in combined print and online readership. 

The ABC numbers are crucial  in establishing how much a newspaper can charge for its advertising. This is the first time many of those papers have had an independent analysis done on online circulation. This will establish a benchmark for numbers from future periods.  Without an independent confirmation of readership, advertisers are reluctant to place their ads in a publication. 

Unfortunately it is still hard to sell advertising for on-line editions  -and close to impossible to get readers to pay for access to your service.  To date major advertisers have not considered online readership to be as valuable as print readership when devising ad campaigns. 

My own thought is that many in the industry need to rethink the concept of the ad.  Broadband is now available in even remote areas and younger Internet users consider their computers more akin to an on-demand TV set than an alternative to any form of print. I suspect marketing departments used to selling ad in a static medium are uncertain how to approach potential advertisers in this new, dynamic media. 

Ad agencies may also have to come to grips with the idea that they may have to create video ads for customers at a much faster pace to keep their message fresh in the age of YouTube.
 
In a priceless admission, the President and general manager of the Washington Post reacts to some good news by saying, "but you wouldn't know that to read the newspapers."    

I've been saying that for years now. Unfortunately the good news was not about Iraq or a surprisingly strong job market.  The story is about some good numbers that came out of the recent Audit Bureau of Circulation report on newspaper readership. While print readership declined, sometimes sharply, (the New York Times reports a 4.5% drop in weekly circulation and a 7.6% drop in Sunday circulation) for the first time the number for online readership for more than 200 newspapers in their home markets has been included in the Audit Bureau of Circulation report.  

When the online readership numbers are included, the picture looks brighter for the newspaper industry. But the president of Scarborough Reports, the company that preformed the on line analysis, reports that in the last two years their analysis of 88 major papers showed that about half had seen no significant change in combined print and online readership. 

The ABC numbers are crucial  in establishing how much a newspaper can charge for its advertising. This is the first time many of those papers have had an independent analysis done on online circulation. This will establish a benchmark for numbers from future periods.  Without an independent confirmation of readership, advertisers are reluctant to place their ads in a publication. 

Unfortunately it is still hard to sell advertising for on-line editions  -and close to impossible to get readers to pay for access to your service.  To date major advertisers have not considered online readership to be as valuable as print readership when devising ad campaigns. 

My own thought is that many in the industry need to rethink the concept of the ad.  Broadband is now available in even remote areas and younger Internet users consider their computers more akin to an on-demand TV set than an alternative to any form of print. I suspect marketing departments used to selling ad in a static medium are uncertain how to approach potential advertisers in this new, dynamic media. 

Ad agencies may also have to come to grips with the idea that they may have to create video ads for customers at a much faster pace to keep their message fresh in the age of YouTube.