SAGE Advice: Ditch Stock Pages — And You Risk Missing Key Readers

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By: Leo Shapiro, Steve Yahn, and Erik Shapiro

People who watch the stock market are just the people that newspaper ad buyers want to reach.

The Leo J. Shapiro and Associates August National Poll of U.S. consumers finds that those who own stocks – directly or in mutual funds – are much more valuable to advertisers than the balance of the population in that they have higher annual family incomes ($73K vs. $41K) are more likely to feel their income is more than they need to live comfortably (18 percent vs. 10 percent), and are more inclined to spend freely for consumable goods as well as major goods.

During the turbulent stock market during the first days of August, the Leo J. Shapiro national survey found only one in seven (14 percent) of consumers who own common stocks directly or in mutual funds report following stock market prices ?very closely,? another 46 percent report following prices ?somewhat closely? and the remaining 40 percent report they are not following stock prices at all closely.

The encouraging finding for newspapers in the light of doom and gloom reports about newspaper declining circulation, is that while 55 percent say they follow prices on the Internet, a hefty 44 percent report they look for stock prices in the newspaper.

Other media are mentioned as sources of news on stock prices with sharply lower frequency: television (28 percent) and radio (2 percent).

Not so encouraging for newspapers, consumers name the Internet (46 percent) more than twice as frequently as they name newspapers (19 percent) as the place they look most often for stock prices,

Newspapers not fighting to retain their audience of investors by restricting their reporting of stock prices are blowing off a segment of the consumer population that their advertisers would die for.

Bottom Line

Newspapers that won?t commit to regularly print stock prices can still ? almost risklessly – post them (and furthermore constantly update them) in their on-line editions.

Your newspaper ad buyers? best beloved customers will appreciate stories in the next day edition about stocks of companies with local roots that had a big move the previous day.

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