U.S. Newspaper Future

Posted on 6/5/2017 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

According to Pew Research Center the combined print and digital U.S. daily newspaper circulation fell an estimated 8% to 35 million and 38 million for Sunday, the lowest levels since 1945.

This is the 28th consecutive year of declines compared to the year before. When compared to 1988 there has been a 39% decline in newspaper readership in the U.S while the population has increased by about 32%.

In 2016 newspaper advertising revenue declined compared to 2015. Based on financial statements of publicly-traded newspaper companies Pew Research Center estimates ad revenue at $18 billion, down 10% from 2015.

However, many newspapers are moving toward an online subscription model and depending less on advertising. Digital adds accounted for 29% of total newspaper advertising in 2016, up from 25% in 2015. Circulation revenue in 2016 was an estimated $11 billion, about the same as in 2015.
Some major publications that saw digital subscription growth in 2016 include:
  • The New York Times added more than 500,000 digital subscriptions in 2016 – a 47% year-over-year rise,
  • The Wall Street Journal added more than 150,000 digital subscriptions, a 23% rise, according to audited statements produced by Dow Jones,
  • The Chicago Tribune added about 100,000 in weekday digital circulation, a 76% year-over-year gain, according to its filings with the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM),
  • The Washington Post’s online traffic increased by nearly 50 percent in 2016 and new subscriptions grew by 75 percent, more than doubling digital subscription revenue.
However, circulation revenue gains are still not high enough to account for losses in ad revenue.

According to year-end financial statements, The New York Times saw a year-over-year decline of 9% in advertising revenue but a 3% rise in circulation revenue, for an overall revenue decline of 2%.

Tronc, which owns the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times saw an 8% decline in advertising revenue and a 4% decline in total revenue, though circulation revenue increased 5%.

The chief revenue officer of The Washington Post, a private company that does not publish its financial results, told a New York Times reporter recently that 2017 would be “our third straight year of double-digit revenue growth.”)

Last December, in an article first reported by Politico, The Washington Post said it expected to hire more than 60 journalists in the coming months to grow its newsroom to more than 750 people. As part of this growth The Post expected to expand its video journalism and make additional investments in podcasts and photography.

Copyright © 2017 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of www.selling-stock.com, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  


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