A story today in McClatchy’s Raleigh News & Observer - - “N&O slips in print, up online” - - includes this:
. . . The News & Observer was among hundreds of papers that recorded declining circulation since last fall, according to figures released Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.The entire N&O story’s here.
The N&O's print circulation for the Sunday paper declined 2.8percent -- from 211,245 in the six months ended March 31, 2008 to 205,298 in the six months ended March 31, 2009.
Circulation for the daily paper declined nearly 11 percent, from 176,083 to 156,909 in the same time period.
[Publisher Orage] Quarles attributed the drop to two things: less money being spent to market the paper and thus gain new readers and fewer promotions where the paper is given away.
The bonus or promotional papers count for the paper's circulation figures, he said, but do not contribute to the company's bottom line.
"We just can't afford to do that anymore," Quarles said.
Now the company is focused on maintaining and increasing home delivery sales, Quarles said.
Home delivery and "single copy" papers sold in stores and coin-operated machines make up 82 percent of the newspaper's daily circulation and 95 percent of the Sunday circulation, said Jim Puryear, The N&O's vice president for circulation.
Sales of those two categories declined much less than the overall figures -- 4.2 percent daily and 0.5 percent for Sunday during the same period, he said.
Spending less money promoting the print paper and cutting back on “giveaways” suggest the N&O has given up on growing print circulation, at least to any significant extent?
That’s got to be very bad news for N&O employees because if the N&O somehow manages to successfully go digital and becomes primarily a web publication, far fewer of them will be needed than at present.
And something else: those who wish to find a print N&O in their driveways each morning will undoubtedly be paying much more for the paper because there will be much less of the print circulation driven advertising revenues that have made it possible for newspapers to be priced as almost "giveaways."