Tag Archives: ABC

Searchable database: National newspaper circulation figures for March

The Audit Bureau of Circulation today released audited March circulation figures for national newspapers.

The statistics stated that the Sun on Sunday averaged 2.43 million copies in first full month since launch.

The figures in the searchable database below.

[iframe src=”http://www.journalism.co.uk/uploads/abcmar2012new.html” width=”100%” height=”1000px”]

Publishing Expo: Demise? PPA chair proclaims ‘golden age’ for industry

PPA chair Barry McIlheney proclaimed a new “golden age” for the publishing industry at a closing Publishing Expo keynote which saw leading figures in bullish mood. New research drawn from inside the industry indicates it has much to be confident about, but only if it gets its thinking right – the ABC council got a kicking for not moving with the times.

The session started with Jim Bilton of Wessenden Marketing presenting the results of the big Publishing Futures survey. This asks industry insiders what their view of the business is and where they see themselves in two years – so that a more accurate picture of what is actually happening can be gained. Some 101 companies representing 3,902 brands contributed and the results come as a surprise for a trade which has seemed obsessed with its own demise.

Across the survey, publishers predicted turnover would be up an average of 6.8 per cent. Headcount is rising again. The focus has moved to developing new revenue streams and away from cutting costs. Confidence is growing. And print is still, in Bilton’s words, “massively important – the engine room of the business, providing 68 per cent of revenue overall”.

The mood, he said, seemed to be changing from impending doom to one of “fear that digital will slip through our fingers because there are so many opportunities.” Publishers were now asking ‘have we got the resources to manage and develop the available revenue streams?’ he said, and highlighted one comment in the survey which said: “We need to be more positive and bold and stop the corporate dithering.”

Bilton opened the panel discussion by asking: “Are we in the middle of something, and if so what is it?” McIlheney responded by calling the survey “fantastically encouraging” and saying that it showed “if you have the assets you are on the verge of a golden age”. That may seem an entirely predictable point of view for a PPA chair, but Dennis CEO James Tye put some flesh on the bones:

“We are not on the verge of change, ” he said. “We are 10 years in.” He added that at Dennis: “We don’t talk about print or digital any more – we’ve moved to a brand model. We think about total revenue and total profit from the brand.”

Spectator chief Ben Greenish echoed the back-to-basics theme of the two-day gathering when he said: “I haven’t thought of myself as a publishing person for 10 years. It’s about media. It’s always been like this.” And Shortlist Media’s Mike Soutar talked of being “on the brink of an exciting moment because we have a set of businesses which are not declining at the rate we thought they would”. He said Shortlist, which has made a success of the print freemium model, was “gearing up digitally and internationally because we are convinced we have to do it now – the moment can be fleeting”.

Bilton posed the question “Is digital a business for large players only?” and both Greenish and Soutar argued not.

Greenish said: “Being able to be fleet of foot is key. Being small means you can try things. We are making much of what we do up as we go along and we are relaxed about it. If you fail in a big business you lose your job.” Soutar drew on his experience at IPC to say: “We succeeded when we could operate small, move fast and try things out, then use big muscle to maximise what works.” He said “being small is critical to creativity”.

This led to some discussion of staff, recruitment and skill sets. Greenish said: “We kidded ourselves that we can all do digital as well. You have to employ people who have the focus and expertise to do the job.” He warned of seeing digital as “the thing you do after print”. And James Tye worried about “living in denial”, saying that his concern was “the lack of knowledge of systems skills and systems deployment at senior level”.

As the session seemed to be drawing to a close, a question from the floor sparked some strong criticism of the ABC council. Panel members complained of not being able to include iPad subscriptions in circulation figures and the ABC Council was accused of “dragging its feet” and being “shamefully behind”.

The clear message was that the industry needed a clear metric for measuring circulation in these changed times, and the ABC itself was under threat if it didn’t come up with one.

It was an explosive end to a session which surprised and stimulated and showed, to shamelessly plunder a cliché, that rumours of the publishing industry’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.

The Drum: Julian Assange and the journalism defence

According to the US Department of Defence spokesman Geoff Morrell, the DoD is “hard at work building a case” against Julian Assange. Any case they do build will likely be based on a prosecution under the 1917 Espionage Act.

There have been some passing comments recently from the likes of Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger and New York Times editor Bill Keller about whether or not Assange is a journalist or not. Far from idle debate, or just semantics, the definition could prove key to defending himself against the US. ABC’s The Drum blog has the full analysis.

Well, why does it matter whether Assange is a journalist or not? It certainly might matter to Assange, because under the US Espionage Act it’s an offence for anyone to disclose information pertaining to America’s national security and which he “has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States”.

A journalist, the courts by and large accept, has an occupational motive for disclosing information that comes his or her way, more or less regardless of consequences. But if Assange isn’t a journalist, what is his motive? If it could be shown that his specific purpose, in passing the cables to newspapers around the globe, or in posting them on WikiLeaks’s own websites, was to injure the United States, he might be caught by the act.

US newspaper circulations still falling, but decline is slowing

Figures released by the US Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) this week suggest that while circulation figures recorded for the 653 daily US newspapers in the audit fell by a cumulative 5 per cent from April to September this year, the rate of decline has slowed based on previous audits.

According to the Editor & Publisher, the decrease follows year-on-year drops of 8.7 per cent for the previous six-month period and 11 per cent for April to September 2009.

Among the country’s largest papers, the sharpest drops were at the Newsday, owned by Cablevision Systems Corp. (CVC), where circulation fell 12 per cent, and the San Francisco Chronicle, owned by Hearst Corp. Its circulation declined 11 per cent.

US Digest: ABC announces cuts; Washington Post Co. announces profits; Yahoo! messes about on Twitter

Starting this week, the editor’s blog will feature an afternoon roundup of all things media from over the pond. From the hugely important to the very inconsequential, check in for a choice of America’s journalistic goings on.

ABC president soft-peddles what look like substantial cuts

Do you want the bad news or just the news first? Bad? OK.

The bad news today comes from the Los Angeles Times in the form of an announcement by ABC that it is to make a “fundamental transformation” to its news division. “Fundamental transformation” being bad-newsspeak, of course, for ‘streamlining’, or ‘workforce optimisation’, or ‘force shaping’, or, even, ‘mass redundancies’.

Reports suggest the company may be ‘smart-sizing’ its ‘force’ to the tune of a 20 per cent reduction. The news arm currently employs 1,400 staff. The maths, or ‘math’ in this case, produces bad news whichever way you phrase it.

David Westin, president of ABC News, went with a memo that all sounded like this:

The time has come to anticipate change, rather than respond to it. We have a rare opportunity to get in front of what’s coming, to ensure that ABC News has a sound journalistic and financial footing for many years to come, and to serve our audiences even better. But we must move boldly and promptly.

Redundancies have been offered, but it seems likely that if staff don’t move as ‘boldly and promptly’ and Westin intends to, they’ll be pushed.

Unsurprisingly, it’s not all about contraction though:

In newsgathering, we intend to dramatically expand our use of digital journalists […] In production, we will take the example set by Nightline of editorial staff who shoot and edit their own material and follow it throughout all of our programs…

So, listen up: if you can write copy, sub-edit, shoot and edit video, write code, produce an outside broadcast by yourself, mend a broken server, and all the while keep time on the big drum strapped to your back, now is the time to show your face at ABC.

Westin’s memo reprinted at the Los Angeles Times.

Washington Post Co. and A.H. Belo Corp announce Q4 profits against backdrop of newspaper arm losses

Just in from Editor & Publisher, news that the Washington Post Co. and A.H. Belo Corp (parent company to the Dallas Morning News) both had a profitable fourth quarter 2009. The Washington Post Co. reported a Q4 profit $82.2 million, or $8.71 a share, in comparison with $18.8 million, or $2.01 a share in Q4 2008. A.H. Belo recorded a much more moderate $5.6 million, or $0.27 per share, its first quarterly profit since it was spun off from Belo Corp. two years ago.

The figures behind the figures at the Washington Post Co. make for fairly grim reading on the newspaper side of things though, with advertising revenue still in decline. From E&P:

Newspaper revenue declined four per cent in the fourth quarter to $193.3 million. Print ad revenue was down 9 per cent to $92.6 million, with declines in classified, zones and retail advertising offset by an increase in general advertising.

And whilst the overall figures seem to be going in the right direction, they are nonetheless sobering:

For the full year 2009, the newspaper division reported an operating loss of $163.5 million, compared to an operating loss of $192.7 million in 2008.

Similarly, at A.H. Belo:

Advertising revenue continued to fall substantially in the quarter, with the retail down 30.9 per cent, and print classified down 31.1 per cent. Internet revenue fell 8.5 per cent, to $10.1, which accounted for 7.5 per cent, of total revenue for the quarter.

Washington City Paper editor’s second attempt to leave proves successful

From E&P again, news that Erik Wemple is leaving the Washington City Paper, where he has been editor for eight years. He will join Allbritton Communications’ new local start-up in Washington D.C.

Wemple accepted a position as editor of Village Voice in New York during his editorship of the Washington City Paper, but changed his mind before his first day, deciding instead to stay put.

Yahoo late to the Twitter party, but may have come best dressed

Today’s big social media news is a Yahoo/Twitter partnership.

TechCrunch takes an irreverent look at the embargo politics surrounding the announcement, and a sideswipe at Yahoo for being late to the party:

Yahoo and Twitter have reached an agreement to share data between their properties. That’s great. Yahoo is only a few months behind Google and Microsoft (Bing) doing the same thing.

It seems Yahoo! got so over excited at the news themselves that they toyed with their Twitter followers over the course of the day, hyping the announcement by tweeting clues, and possibly confusing its importance with your Moon landings and presidential race winners.

  • Clue #1/5: Who has approx 29,000 followers as of this morning? #ybignews
  • Clue #2/5: What kind of “moon” had teen moviegoers swooning last fall? #ybignews
  • Clue #3/5: Who might you greet with a friendly “howdy”? #ybignews (use hashtag for previous clues)
  • Clue #4/5:What’s both a sugar substitute & a mathematical symbol? #ybignews (use hashtag for previous clues-forms a phrase)
  • Final clue: A little birdie told us to find them @twitter #ybignews Thanks for following us (winners notified soon)

What fun.

Mashable goes into more detail about the partnership, claiming that despite its tardyness it is more comprehensive, and a better all round deal than Twitter’s search partnerships with Google and Bing.

“This is a local blog, for local people…” Erm, I think you mean hyperlocal there love

Following on from yesterday’s US Digest coverage of the NYT’s new East Village hyperlocal venture, a small, but useful post from Lost Remote today outlines its take on some key new terms:

There is a difference between the terms “local”, “hyperlocal” and “niche” and I want to outline our editorial policy regarding the three. We see the three used interchangeably some times, and I think it’s important we all recognise the differences. ‘Hyperlocal’ covers neighborhoods, while ‘local’ covers towns and cities. We get some press releases here about how stations or newspapers are starting new ‘hyperlocal’ websites that cover their city or a given topic in their city (say, ‘moms’). A mum blog is a niche site. A neighbourhood blog is hyperlocal. A city blog is local. Disagree? Let us know.

Response to the ABCs results: How are mag subscriptions and sales faring in the recession?

Subscription sales are up according to figures from online magazine retailer The Magazine Group, which runs sites for WH Smith, Books Direct and others; while last week the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) reported only a slight drop in overall magazine sales.

But individual titles have seen circulations plummet this. Do subscriptions offer a way to avoid such a loss in sales? Here, we examine the results of the two reports:

Last week’s report from The Magazine Group suggests subscription sales are on the up after analysing figures for the more than 800 titles from 140 publishers it offers. The findings are derived from more than 100,000 subscriptions sold by the group – comparing purchasing patterns from the first half of 2008 with those for the same period this year.

Meanwhile overall ABC results for January to June 2009 suggested that magazine circulation for the UK consumer magazine market is only 1.9 per cent down on the previous period.

But individual titles fared worse in last weeks ABCs: results suggested that most glossy magazines have lost sales (one of the worst hit has been FHM down 16.2 per cent). There are exceptions – such Men’s Health (up 2.1 per cent YOY), which has taken FHM’s place as top selling title.

According to the Magazine Group’s report, women’s glossies are also suffering with the biggest fall in subscriptions amongst the retailer’s titles. The ABC results show that overall sales for women’s weeklies are down 4.6 per cent year-on-year.

In contrast celebrity weeklies are doing well in subscriptions for the Magazine Group, which claimed that magazines with competitive prices were faring the best.

The public’s concerns and interest in the recession are reflected in the ABC report by the general increase in sales for news and business magazines compared with other sectors –  MoneyWeek (which has subscribers making up 96 per cent of readers, according to MediaGuardian) was up 15.3 per cent year-on-year, while the Week gained 10.3 per cent in sales.

Up 0.6 per cent year-on-year, Private Eye remains the biggest-selling title in the news and finance business sector.

According to The Magazine Group, TV, computer games and music magazines are also doing well – it seems that more people are trying to save money by staying in.

Speaking at the FIPP congress earlier this year, leading magazine publishers suggested that personalisation may be a key factor for future magazine revenue streams. This sentiment is reflected in the Magazine Group’s report, as specialist magazines are shown to be doing well. The figures suggested an increase of more than 20 per cent in the sales of home improvement, craft and gardening titles.

But, it may simply come down to money-saving to explain the drop in glossies, but rise in such specialist titles. Economising Brits seem to be fighting the recession by trying to make their money go further. Not surprisingly, the ABC report suggests that specialist titles such as house renovation and housing have fallen in circulation, as have health and beauty magazines.

“What these figures (The Magazine Group) show is that magazine consumers are looking for value. Titles that offer ways to combat the credit crunch are thriving,” says Don Brown of The Magazine Group in a release.

“With sales falling on the newsstand many magazines are having a tough time, but with big name brands offering discounts and free gifts, savvy subscribers have great choice of bargains.”

The magazine Group claims to generally have a rise in their subscriptions, compared to many falls in the ABC analysis on individual title’s sales. Does this suggest that subscription deals might be able to save/maintain some magazines?

Peter Preston: Advertisers needs transparency in metrics to move online

“[P]art of the answer to not enough advertising revenue lies in serving the advertiser better,” writes Preston, referencing last week’s results of an inquiry into reporting of newspaper bulks as a step towards greater transparency of circulation figures.

But there isn’t an international standard for web traffic measurement to news sites and the difference between current methodologies (e.g. those of Nielsen in the US and the Audit Bureau of Circulations in the UK) could leave advertisers feeling lost, he says.

“It ought to be simple. The information is there online. But if you can’t extricate it, how do you expect more than a few categories of internet advertising to break through to good prices in great quantity?”

Full post at this link…

Journalism Daily: Collaborative journalism, freelancers’ rights and Observer/Shiny updates

Journalism.co.uk is trialling a new service via the Editors’ Blog: a daily round-up of all the content published on the Journalism.co.uk site.

We hope you’ll find it useful as a quick digest of what’s gone on during the day (similar to our e-newsletter) and to check that you haven’t missed a posting.

We’ll be testing it out for a couple of weeks, so you can subscribe to the feed for the Journalism Daily here.

Let us know what you think – all feedback much appreciated.

News and features:

Ed’s picks:

Tip of the day:


On the Editors’ Blog:

Lone Star defies downward trend in revised ABC results

The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) has today brought out its revised figures for national newspaper circulation in the UK, reducing the headline circulations of titles including the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and Financial Times in the light of an investigation into ‘bulk copies’ distributed by Dawson Media Direct, for the London Evening Standard, Mail on Sunday and Sunday Telegraph.

The UK newspaper circulation body revised the figures because audit trails for ‘bulks’ did not comply with ABC rules.

Earlier this year, the Financial Times reduced its use of bulks, and this week Guardian News and Media announced that it was currently ditching its bulk distribution completely.

A brief summary of today’s ABC results:

  • The Sunday Times was the only ‘quality’ Sunday title to post a year-on-year rise in sales (2.74 per cent). On average the ‘quality’ Sunday titles posted a 2.77 per cent year-on-year fall.  The Independent on Sunday posted the biggest year-on-year drop – 19.98 per cent.
  • All the daily titles audited posted a year-on-year drop in sales, apart from The Star which increased its circulation by 20.12 per cent compared with July 2008.
  • The Sun recorded a tiny drop of 0.4 per cent year-on-year and although the Daily Mirror was down 7.16 per cent compared with last year’s figures, month-on-month the title’s sales rose by 0.73 per cent.

A more in-depth analysis of these results is available on Guardian.co.uk.

GNM abandons the distribution of bulks

Guardian News and Media announced today that it will abandon the distribution of ‘bulks’.

GNM sold ‘bulk’ bundles of its papers to hotels and airlines for a nominal fee per copy to the businesses, but free to the readers. This sampling method was a way of tempting new readers towards the publications.

But bulk sales only contributed to a fraction of the Guardian and Observer’s overall sales figures compared to other newspaper groups, said a release from GNM.

“To a greater or lesser degree bulk sales are used by newspaper groups to prop up their ABC [Audit Bureau of Circulations] figure.  Yet their credibility in the ad community is low and for those affected by the recent investigation into airline bulks that credibility has been undermined further,” Joe Clark, GNM director and general manager, newspapers, said in the release.

“We are abandoning this practice in order to present a clearer, more honest picture of our sales performance to advertisers and to reinforce the quality of our product to readers.  The success of our subscription scheme has proved the value of rewarding loyal readers and prompted us to question the merit of subsidising a free copy for an occasional reader.

“In short dropping this traditional, and in our view, outmoded practice is a win-win move.  We hope that others will follow our lead.”

On Guardian.co.uk, Roy Greenslade celebrated the decision after a 10-year battle to convince the papers to drop the bulks.

“This so-called ‘sampling exercise’ was anything other than a way to ensure that, in a declining market, headline sales figures remained artificially high,” he wrote.

Over the past 10 years publishers have become increasingly aware that sampling had little effect on their sales.

As Greenslade reports: Trinity Mirror and Express Mirrors were the first to give up the practice, while News International never used bulks for its main titles, The Sun and News of the World, but did for The Times and The Sunday Times.

The Financial Times has also begun to lessen its use of bulks; whereas The Telegraph Media Group continues to use bulks to attract new readers, he adds. In addition The Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday have increased their reliance on bulks.