Good News, Bad News p.18

By: JOHN CONSOLI

THE GOOD NEWS for newspapers is that more advertising dollars continue to be spent on newspapers than on broadcast television.
The not-so-good news, however, is that the percentage of the U.S. adults (18 years and older) who read newspapers on a daily basis has declined to 58.8% in 1996, from 64.2% in 1995, according to the latest Facts About Newspapers booklet from the Newspaper Association of America.
Sunday newspaper readership also declined, to 68.5% of the adult population in 1996, from 72.6% in 1995.
The report is a compendium of information gleaned from an assortment of sources, including Scarborough Research and the Editor & Publisher International Year Book.
While newspaper readership declined, advertising expenditures in newspapers reached an all-time high last year. According to the NAA report, $38.1 billion was spent on newspaper advertising in 1996, up from $36 billion in 1995.
Classified spending rose to $15.1 billion in 1996, from $13.7 billion in 1995. Retail advertising expenditures were up to $18.3 billion, from $18 billion, and national ad spending increased to $4.6 billion, from $4.2 billion in 1995.
Total morning circulation was up, while evening and Sunday circulation declined. According to preliminary data from the Editor & Publisher International Year Book, morning circulation rose to 44.7 million, from 44.3 million, while evening circulation declined to 12.2 million, from 13.8 million, and Sunday dipped to 60.7 million, from 61.5 million.
The total number of U.S. daily newspapers declined by 13 in 1996, compared with 1995, tapering from 1533 to 1520.
The number of morning newspapers grew to 686, from 656, while the roster of evening papers declined from 891 to 846. The number of Sunday newspapers increased by two.
The report also showed that newspaper readership increases with the level of education, household income, job responsibility and home value.
The general news section of a newspaper is the most well read, the report showed, with 95% of adults stating that they read this it.
Other sections and the percentage of adults reading them each day are: entertainment, 79%; sports, 78%; editorial pages, 76%; business/finance, 75%; TV/radio listings, 74%; food, 73%; classified ads, 73%; comics, 72%; home section, 71%.
When it comes to voice and online services, the report finds:
u More than 500 North American daily newspapers have launched online services as of March 1, l997, including Web sites and partnerships with consumer online companies.
u Of the top 100 newspapers by circulation, 95 offer online products.
u More than 60% of the daily newspapers on the Web have circulations under 30,000.
u More than 65% of newspapers on the Web offer classified ads.
u More than 100 newspapers provide Internet access in their communities.
u There are more than 900 voice information and fax services at newspapers, and they range from stock quotes, to weather reports, to homework hotlines, to classified services.
u Based on preliminary results of a survey of online newspapers, 36% say they turned a profit in 1996 or will be profitable in 1997. Another 24% say they will be profitable within four years.
Citing preliminary figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the report says the number of newspaper employees declined by 13,000 last year. Newspapers employed 491,000 people in 1995, 478,000 in 1996. The number of number of men employed by newspapers fell by 10,000, to 244,000, and the number of women declined by 3,000, to 234,000.
The gap between the number of men and women working at newspapers is closer than ever. In 1970, there were 161,000 more men than women. Today that gap is 10,000.
?Web Site: http://www.mediainfo.com.
?copyright: Editor & Publisher, May 3, 1997.

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