Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Lies Media Companies Tell

I could go in all kinds of directions with that headline, but this site is focused on Media, Marketing, Advertising and Sales.

Advertisers and their ad agencies want to have confidence that the money they spend on their ads are going to reach enough people to be a profitable expenditure.

There are many, many, Many factors that are not easily measured, but there are some standards of measurement that are accepted by most in the biz.

Now, due to the decline in printed newspaper circulation that business is now presenting their data differently.

What does this have to do with advertising effectiveness? Not much in my opinion.

Formula Changes For Determining Newspaper Circulation Figures

The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and The New York Times Rank as Three Largest Weekday Papers

The Wall Street Journal has retained its crown as the country's largest weekday newspaper, reporting total average circulation of 2.1 million over the six months ending in March, followed by USA Today at 1.8 million and The New York Times at 916,911.

The Journal increased its average weekday circulation by 1.2% from the six months ending in March 2010, while USA Today edged up 0.1% and The Times declined 3.6%.

The Journal's total was aided by its paid digital circulation, which increased 21.9% to 504,734, while its weekday print circulation slipped 3.9% to 1,613,062.

USA Today's circulation increased year-over-year for the first time since September 2008.

What you can't get from the new round of figures, however, is the usual sense from reports past of how overall newspaper circulation has changed since the equivalent period a year earlier.

That's because The Audit Bureau of Circulations, whose board is composed of advertisers and newspapers, has changed the rules. Instead of reporting total paid circulation, which required that readers paid one way or another, newspapers now report total average circulation, including editions under different names that publish at least weekly -- as long as they are labeled to include the word 'edition' -- such as commuter or alternative language papers.

The 10th-largest weekday paper in the current report, for example, is the Chicago Sun-Times, whose 419,407 average Monday-through-Friday circulation includes 168,299 copies attributed to branded editions. In the report a year ago, the Chicago Sun-Times ranked 17th with average weekday circulation of 268,803.

Complimentary copies ordered by businesses such as hotels, airlines and beauty salons used to count as unpaid; under the new rules they count toward "total average circulation" under a new "verified" category.

But not all the changes will help newspapers increase their totals. Copies distributed in an uncontrolled environment such as a festival formerly qualified as a kind of paid circulation, but now are called unpaid and cannot be counted toward total average circulation.

For many papers, however, their top-line circulation figures include exactly or roughly the same circulation sources as before.

"The new definitions and formats reflect changes in the way publishers market their newspapers to readers, allowing newspaper companies to more accurately portray the powerful audiences they deliver across a multitude of print, digital and mobile platforms," said John Sturm, president and CEO of the Newspaper Association of America, in a statement.

(Source: Advertising Age, 05/03/11)

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