Saturday, May 1, 2010

New circulation numbers in, the arrow goes down

Thanks to an FFE commenter, I went over to the ABC (the company that tracks newspaper circulation) and verified the information that was posted on a previous comment.

The numbers are not good. The last time I posted about the Flint Journal circulation the numbers I collected were. In case you don't follow the link it was numbers for September 2008 and Flint had a daily circulation of 73,013 and a Sunday number of 88,897.

Now the numbers are:

Sunday 74,375 (-14,000+)

Thursday 60,075 - Friday - 59,222 (-13,000)

That's a huge loss in less than two years. From what I hear they believe the bleeding has stopped, or at least slowed, but I still run into people everyday who are dropping the paper for a couple of reasons. "There's nothing in it" "I like the paper everyday"

My wife and I still get the paper and I don't subscribe to the "There's nothing in it," but some days it's pretty thin.

Here are the rest of the numbers as supplied by the commenter (Those circulation drop numbers are likely from 2009, not 2008):

Bay City:
Thu. - 21,607 (-2,896, -11.8%)
Fri. - 21,925 (-2,858, -11.5%)
Sun. - 31,968 (-2,382, -6.9%)

Thu. - 60,075 (-5,896, -8.9%)
Fri. - 59,222 (-6,879, -10.4%)
Sun. - 74,375 (-5,817, -7.2%)

Thu. - 27,581 (-2,998, -9.8%)
Fri. - 27,866 (-2,752, -8.9%)
Sun. - 39,156 (-2,205, -5.3%)


Anonymous said...

Whats interesting is that the advertising rates have not changed. Some, in fact, are more. With that kind of drop in circulation, advertisers should be paying half of what they paid in 2006-7 when The Flint Journal was named Newspaper of the Year and competed against the largest papers in the state. Half price advertising? Nope. It's like watching the Titanic sink, very, very, very slowly. It would be funny if it weren't so very, very, very tragic.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Jim, those circulation drops are in reference to the 9/30/09 numbers.

Jim of L-Town said...

Has anyone see Kroger in the paper recently? They used to have a front page ad and now I don't see them in the paper at all.

In Friday's Journal in the main section (14 pages) (no front page ad, a small Walli's ad on A2, a medical ad on A4, A Droid ad on A5, a Journal house ad on A7, a half page, one column movie ad on A8, 1 3/4 pages of obituaries (with a couple Journal house ads) and a 3/4 page PNC ad.

Section B (Sports - 8 pages) A lawyer business card ad on B3 and nothing else.

Section C (Classified - 4 pages)About 3/4 pages were house ads.

Section D (Social - Features (6 pages) No ads, but a few social announcements that people now pay for.

There were a couple inserts, but even with my cursory knowledge of the business side, that ain't enough to support even the meager staff they have now.

I'll watch the Sunday paper and see if Kroger is in there.

If Kroger is gone, that will be a huge hit.

Anonymous said...

They think the bleeding's stopped, eh?

Anwar Sadat's bleeding finally stopped, too.

Anonymous said...

Kroger's gone, Jim -- its circular started in ADVO, along with the other mailed ads, this week. It was no secret; the previous week's ADVO mailing included a page announcing Kroger's shift.

The thing I found most interesting about your report is that Bay City -- the smallest and weakest of the three-paper group -- is running the ballgame for the Journal-Times-News axis. The Bay City template surely has destroyed the Journal as a news source.

Jim of L-Town said...

That is bad news then. Not sure we get ADVO over here in Lapeer and my wife does shop at the Kroger here so I didn't see the announcement. It was mentioned to me at a recent lunch, but I didn't notice it was gone until this week.

Those kinds of dollars will not be easy to replace.

Your point about Bay City running the show is a good one, but the top management of Booth, and I've worked for several of the current publishers is very weak.

The move from strong editors to, let's say this kindly, more business directed ones in recent years, has proved to be a disaster for the company.

Newspapers always worked best when there was a healthy tension between the business and editorial side and a pretty high wall between them.

In recent years Booth has gone more corporate/business in its editorial direction with predictable results.

Even with all the buyouts, layoffs, etc. I'm sure there are plenty of tough reporters who could stir up a good kind of trouble if allowed to.

Aggressive reporting, independent of business concerns is the best newspaper model.

Jim of L-Town said...

Kroger had a full-page ad in the Sunday paper. So maybe they cut back their insert, but they still have an ad in the paper, so that is good.

There's a pretty health amount of ads and inserts in today's paper, so perhaps the Sunday advertising support is still there to help sustain the operation.

Friday was pretty meager, though.

And just to re-emphasize this, I WANT the Journal to succeed. I still have friends there and newspapers are my passion.

Tough decision have been made, many that I don't agree with, but I still wish them well.

My only point is that the decisions they made gutted the bottom, while protecting the leaders who brought all this about.

Those responsible for the bad decisions that brought the company to this point should be paying a heavier price.

Anonymous said...

At least The Oakland Press saw a nice increase in circulation. Another gift that fell into their lap.....

Anonymous said...

Yeah, they should have started with the management and worked their way down . Seems to me the people that actually cared what kind of product they were producing are mostly gone. They have the attitude now like they are doing us all a favor by printing the paper.

Anonymous said...

Jim, does anyone know if the advertising sales people were let go like the people in the newsroom or did they stay?

Anonymous said...

I had a friend who bought a classified ad the other day and was the cost. He had no choice but to run the ad because it was some kind of legal requirement for his business. Wonder how long before TV figures out they could get this kind advertisement dollars and kill that revenue stream? Strange times.