THE CIRCULATION CRISIS ACCORDING TO THE NEW YORK TIMES: NO PROBLEM

Files under General | Oct 31st

From a memo of Scott Heekin-Canedy, president and general manager of The New York Times:

Dear Colleagues,

Yesterday, the most recent circulation results for The New York Times and other newspapers were released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

As we expected, The Times posted a modest decline (-3.5%) in our daily and Sunday circulation, the first in several years.

This is a result of the strategic decision we made to focus our efforts on the paid circulation that advertisers value most.

For example, we recently replaced our “two weeks free” promotion with our traditional 50% offer.

In addition, we also had a modest price increase in February.

We believe these actions will enable us to sustain our circulation in a more financially prudent fashion, enhance customer loyalty and provide our advertisers with the circulation quality they expect.

Our strategy is, in fact, working: our individual paid circulation, a key indicator of circulation quality, remains at 87%, one of the highest in the industry.

Our daily circulation is now 1,086,798; Sunday circulation is 1,623,697.

You should know that our audience remains strong.

Our home delivery circulation, thanks to national expansion, continues to be stable.

You should also know that our circulation in the key Manhattan market is stronger than all the competition.

Finally, our digital leadership is unparalleled in the newspaper community.

NYTimes.com is the largest newspaper-owned Web site in the world.

We will continue to monitor and manage our profitable circulation growth in the context of our overall strategy objectives.

Scott

What kind of strategy is this one that presents a -3.5% decline in such a optimistic way?

The first rule to find a solution is to understand the problem.

Well, it seems that in The New York Times there are no problems.

Perfectly blind.



THE NEW YORK POST GAINS READERS BUT NOT ADVERTISERS

Files under General | Oct 31st

Daily circulation at the paper overtook the Daily News and showed gains of 5%

Perhaps the only major metro in the country to report such growth to 704,011 copies.

That’s an increase of 34,348 copies over the same period in 2005

The New York Post surpasses the Daily News and The Washington Post to become the 5th largest newspaper in America after bucking the national trend and chalking up a whopping 5.1 percent jump in circulation.

Well, keep in mind that the Murdoch paper is losing a lot of money, charging only $0.25 per copy plus giving away as many papers as possible.



USA NEWSPAPERS: WORST NUMBERS THAN EVER. LESS AND OLDER READERS. PERIOD.

Files under General | Oct 31st

Here there are the top 25 daily newspapers in the U.S. by circulation (with percent change) for the six-month period ending September 2006.

1. USA Today: 2,269509, (-1.3%)

2. The Wall Street Journal: 2,043235, (-1.9%)

3. The New York Times: 1,086,798, (-3.5%)

4. Los Angeles Times: 775,766, (-8.0%)

5. The New York Post: 704,011, 5.1%

6. Daily News: 693,382, 1.0%

7. The Washington Post: 656,297, (-3.3%)

8. Chicago Tribune: 576,132, (-1.7%)

9. Houston Chronicle: 508,097, (-3.6%)

10. Newsday: 413,579, (-4.9%)

11. The Arizona Republic, Phoenix: 397,294, (-2.5%)

12. The Boston Globe: 386,415, (-6.7%)

13. The Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J.: 378,100, (-5.5%)

14. San Francisco Chronicle: 373,805, (-5.3%)

15. The Star Tribune, Minneapolis: 358,887, (-4.1%)

16. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 350,157, (-3.4%)

17. The Plain Dealer, Cleveland: 336,939, (-0.6%)

18. The Philadelphia Inquirer: 330,622, (-7.5%)

19. Detroit Free Press: 328,628, (-3.6%)

20. The Oregonian, Portland: 310,803, (-6.8%)

21. The San Diego Union-Tribune: 304,334, (-3.1%)

22. St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times: 288,676, (-3.2%)

23. The Orange County (Calif.) Register: 287,204, (-3.7%)

24. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch: 276,588, 0.6%

25. The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee: 273,609, (-5.4%)

In no other country in the world, no one, the leading newspapers are doing so poorly.

Even more: many of these papers are going to be sold, some of the editors and publishers will be fired and only a few of them will make real changes.

What’s Nex?

Less readers.

Older Readers.

Less advertising.

Less journalists.

Less journalism.

They were sleeping.

And still they are.



ELECTION PREVIEWS (I)

Files under General | Oct 31st

As always, small newspapers do things better than the big ones.

Election previews, like this one from Daytona Beach.

Via Nicole Bodgas



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Files under General | Oct 31st

TED KENNEDY ON NET NEUTRALITY

Politicians using YouTube to send messages on public issues.

A 3:22 minute video from Senator Kennedy, that got until today almost 300.000 views and more than 800 comments.

As one of them says:

“Smart politician. Posting an ad on youtube.”



ADWATCH AND OTHER “QUICK-READ-FORMATS” THAT NEWSPAPERS MUT DO DURING POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS

Files under General | Oct 31st

Adwatch is a regular column in my local paper.

Today’s one is a perfect example of what newspaper can and must do during election times.

Webb revenue quote taken out of context

THE CANDIDATE On behalf of Republican U.S. Sen. George Allen

THE IMAGES An image of a bucolic Virginia farm shatters like a mirror, revealing Democrat Jim Webb in the background. A video clip from an Oct. 9 League of Women Voter s debate is shown in which Webb says, ” We kid ourselves if we don’t say we need new revenues.”

THE CLAIM Webb would raise taxes if elected. “More revenues is Washington-speak for higher taxes,” a narrator explains. “Higher taxes for Virginia’s families. Jim Webb. He’s not a Virginia Democrat. He’s a Washington liberal.”

THE FACTS The snippet from the debate was taken out of context and violated an agreement not to use the debate footage in campaign ads, reasons the League of Women Voters demanded – unsuccessfully – that Allen stop airing the ad. During the debate, Webb said America could not continue to run up huge deficits. He said he would target corporate tax loopholes, not individuals, to close the gap.

THE SCHEDULE The ad, paid for by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is running throughout Virginia.

Reach Tony Germanotta at (757) 446-2377 or tony.germanotta@pilotonline.com.

Well, newspaper must develop similar quick-read-formats for:

1. The public opinion polls released during the campaigns.

2. The main speeches of the candidates.

3. The analysis of their programs.

4. The political blogs.

5. And also, please, be fair, for the print newspaper political ads.

Peter Zollman is right in his recent column about The Voter Guide Challenge:

With midterm elections coming up in the U.S., many newspapers offer an online voter’s guide.

But I fear some of them may be missing the most important issues.

Information is available in lots of places — print, online, television, etc. — about the governor’s race and the Senate race.

There’s lots of material handy, too, about the candidates for state attorney general, chief financial officer and commissioner of agriculture.

But I have only one place to turn, my local newspaper, for information about such things as a county charter change; a ballot referendum on “disclosure of ownership interests for county land-use applications,” and similar community initiatives.

The supervisor of the soil and water conservation district isn’t advertising on television or sending me direct mail — only my local paper is likely to cover that race and provide me with the information I need to decide.



HELLO, THERE! THE HERO OF THE NBA IS DEAD

Files under General | Oct 30th

I am not a basketball fan, but reading today´s sober farewells to Red Auerbach makes me think about was really wrong in the USA newspapers.

He was a real hero.

The force behind the NBA.

A basketball legend.

The author of “Basketball for the Player, the Fan and Coach.”

The magic Boston Celtics coach and manager (nine NBA championships in 10 seasons!)

Red Auerbach was the greatest basketball coach/executive who ever lived.

A competition that now is as local in Europe, Asia, Latin America or Australia than in the USA.

Reading the AP obituary (an excellent one, but buried inside of many sports sections) I realized that his departure deserved the front page of our best newspapers.

Well, we were so busy in yesterday’s “page one” news-meetings packaging boring news that we forgot about the 98-year NBA hero.

Bill Simmons an ESPN columnist wrote today:

“The Celtics will mourn the soul of their franchise on Wednesday night.

Red’s seat in Section 12 will remain empty.

Old players will show up.

Bagpipes will be played.

A tribute video will run on the brand-new Jumbotron that Red would have hated.

People will cheer, people will clap, people will cry.

It’s going to be an emotional night.”

Yes, what many newspapers do not carry anymore: emotions.

In the pictures: Red Auerbach made his final public appearance on Wednesday night in Washington, D.C., speaking after being honored with the 2006 Lone Sailor Award by the United States Navy, and flowers were placed yesterday at the Red Auerbach statue in Faneuil Hall.



WALTER MOSSBERG, THE KING OF PERSONAL TECHNOLOGY JOURNALISM

Files under General | Oct 30th

Read this from his last column at The Wall Street Journal and you will understand why he is the most well paid journalist in the USA:

It’s time for my annual fall computer buyer’s guide, and this year my message is a little unusual.

If you’re thinking of acquiring or giving a new Windows desktop or laptop computer this holiday season, don’t do it.

I suggest that, if at all possible, you wait around 90 days and get that new Windows machine in February. I advise this delay because the Windows world is on the verge of an upheaval. Microsoft is about to replace its tired, insecure Windows XP operating system with the first all-new version of Windows in more than five years.

It’s called Windows Vista, and it’s likely to be more secure and easier to use. But Vista won’t be available until around Jan. 30, 2007.

So, all those brand-new Windows computers you might buy this holiday season will be powered by an operating system that is on its deathbed.

Walt Mossberg is the author and creator of the weekly Personal Technology column in The Wall Street Journal, which has appeared every Thursday since 1991.

Newsweek magazine calls Mr. Mossberg “the most powerful arbiter of consumer tastes in the computer world today.”

Readers love him.

I am too.



THE MIAMI HERALD IN FREE FALL

Files under General | Oct 30th

From the last ABC figures:

Circulations losses at the Miami Herald were dramatic.

Daily circulation fell 8.8% to 265,583 and Sunday fell 9.1% to 361,846.

As I said in this blog many times, they are sleeping.

It was a great paper.

Now is almost dead.

Why?

Arrogance.

They lost connections with its community.



EL PAIS, NEWSPAPERS, UNICEF, LOFTS AND MERCEDES BENZ

Files under General | Oct 30th

You bought yesterday EL PAIS and you got in the print edition this kind of code.

With the same code you can send a SMS or phone to the paper and you could enter in a daily contest to win a loft in Madrid every Sunday, and a Mercedes Benz A Class model every day from Monday to Saturday.

And, very important, all the money will go to the UNICEF.

Why EL PAIS is giving away all these prizes in the next 30 days?

Because the newspaper needs to increase its circulation.

And also because EL MUNDO, the second largest newspaper in Spain is closer and closer to EL PAIS.

This must be the most extraordinary newspaper promotion ever done in the world.

The “newspaper battle” of Ma drid is going to be very interesting, and expensive.