STATE OF THE NEWSPAPER: Newspaper publishers were able to cobble together increases in circulation last year, according to the Newspaper Association of America, which released 2013 data on the business.
This story first appeared in the April 21, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
In a memo headlined “Business Model Evolving, Circulation Revenue Rising,” the NAA said circulation revenue for U.S. newspapers recorded the second consecutive year of growth, rising 3.7 percent to $10.87 billion in 2013. Circulation was lifted by a 47 percent rise in digital-only revenue and a 108 percent expansion of print and digital bundled circulation. But with many companies shifting to all-access packages, those increases came at the expense of print-only subscriptions from home delivery and single-copy sales, which dropped 20 percent.
Total revenue slid 2.6 percent to $37.59 billion from $38.6 billion in 2012. By category, $23.57 billion came from advertising across all platforms, $10.87 billion from circulation and $3.15 billion from new and other sources.
Advertising revenue, which fell 6.5 percent, was weighed down by an 8.6 percent decline in print revenue, which totaled $17.3 billion. Those declines in print ads were partially due to drops in retail and national ads, which fell 8 percent each, and classified advertising, which contracted 10.5 percent. Also pulling down ad revenue was niche and non-daily publications, which experienced a 5.8 percent dip in revenues to $1.45 billion.
On the bright side, direct marketing sales grew 2.4 percent to $1.4 billion, as digital advertising eked out a 1.5 percent increase to $3.42 billion. About 24 percent of that gain came from advertising that appeared only in newspapers’ digital platforms, not in their print editions.
New and other revenue, which accounted for just over 8 percent of total newspaper media revenue, included income from royalties, licensing and event marketing sales. Within that category, e-commerce continued to struggle, with revenues slipping 4 percent.