Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Oregonian Circulation Plunges

Update: 2016 circulation news here.

Alliance for Audited Media (AAM) reports have become worthless to track circulation statistics. AAM statistics now can count as five subscribers an individual who accesses the same newspaper edition via print, desktop, laptop, tablet, and smart phone. AAM also includes "branded" editions which are free editions made up of a tiny amount of article content and lots of advertising circulars.

So, anyone interested in serious study of a newspaper's true circulation status has to rely on the annual report (Statement of Ownership) required by law that is included in newspapers and magazines. The Oregonian prints its report in an October edition, the latest report coming out on October 17, 2014, for the daily edition.*

The news is not good. Here are the stats for 2012, 2013 and 2014.**

The September 14, 2012 (Friday) edition had a paid circulation of 219,917.

The September 13, 2013 (Friday) edition had a paid circulation of 203,051.

The September 12, 2014 (Friday) edition had a paid circulation of 163,635.

That's more than a 25% drop in two years.  Ouch!
*There is also a report on the Sunday edition that was published in the October 19, 2014 (Sunday) edition.
**Comparison with AAM statistics prior to 2012 is ballpark possible, but there is a difference. For example, AAM's September 2012 paid circulation figure was 228,599 compared to the Statement of Ownership report of 219,917. AAM's figure is about 4% above the Statement of Ownership report, This could be due to the changing AAM metrics which started in 2011.


MAX Redline said...

It looks as though the paid circulation stat really started plunging when they went to tabloid format/4 day per week delivery. Maybe they were hoping their O-Live website would draw in subscribers, but I don't think that's been happening. Interesting, in any case.

T. D. said...

Exactly right, Max. The Oregonian went to a 4 day a week delivery on October 1, 2013.

Paid circulation had dropped about 7-1/2% from Sep 2012 to Sep 2013. So, it was going down, but the new format almost tripled the decline. From Sep 2013 to Sep 2014 there was almost a 19-1/2% drop.

I bet they were thinking they would save enough on three days of printing cost and delivery to offset the expected drop. Doesn't look like it happened.

By the way, they have stopped delivery of the free branded advertisement Food day edition to us. I wonder if it's just us or widespread.

The good news is that the Oregonian has cut its plastic bag pollution significantly both by going to 4 day delivery and by shedding 25% of its circulation. They should write an editorial congratulating themselves. Heh.

MAX Redline said...

They're still pitching the Tuesday ad-thing into the driveway, but they've stopped pitching the Sunday one out there.

I like your idea about the self-congratulatory editorial! Haha!

T. D. said...

Glad you thought it was funny. I was chuckling to myself while putting the thought together.

So, it appears we have been put on the "out" list for the free ad paper. Maybe because we live in a lower income area than you do. Who can tell. Their business model has been counterproductive for a long time.

MAX Redline said...

You're welcome to ours, TD. You probably just have a less-conscientious ad-chucker than we do.Our copy mostly goes straight into the recycling bag, which is a good thing, because it gives full employment to the waste-haulers. :-)

T. D. said...

Free is a very good price unless it takes up recycling space--and getting rid of the skinny, worthless plastic bag.