Today AAM released its semiannual Snapshot report, which gives a first look into the print and digital circulation of U.S. newspapers. There are a few notable changes to Snapshot for this period.
Changes to Five-Day Averages
Daily newspapers with circulation above 50,000 are no longer required to provide a five-day-average figure. Why? The simple truth is that’s not how most newspaper advertising is bought and sold. Today’s environment is sophisticated and complex. Publishers produce their content in print (but perhaps not each day of the week), on tablets and smartphones (of various shapes, sizes, and operating systems), on websites that sit behind paywalls (or not), and, increasingly, in complementary branded print editions that may offer advertisers broad regional coverage on some days of the week or narrowly targeted neighborhoods on other days.
Recognizing these trends, the AAM board agreed that summarizing all of these channels into a single five-day-average figure may not best represent a newspaper’s true reach in a way that is meaningful to advertisers.
What does this mean for today’s Snapshot report? Newspapers with circulation over 50,000 continue to report figures for individual days, as required by AAM. But five-day averages are not available for every newspaper in the report, although many have opted to continue providing this figure.
Because of the change to optional reporting of five-day averages, AAM is not posting comparative U.S. rankings or industry averages for this period. There are, however, a few notable things about the information that’s available today:
- The report contains data for 630 U.S. newspapers.
- Approximately 300 newspapers reported a Monday-Friday average, while others reported additional multiday averages.
- 522 newspapers reported digital editions.
- 114 reported branded editions as part of their total circulation.
A Note about Comparability
As outlined in Rule A 1.2 Permissions and Prohibitions, equivalent data elements must be used when comparing newspapers. Circulation can only be compared across identical days (e.g., Monday to Monday, Tuesday to Tuesday, five-day average to five-day average).
Many newspapers continue to report a five-day average, and publishers are welcome to use that number for comparison purposes if a newspaper reports it. You may also use any of the individual weekday averages as long as they are labeled as such. You should also note the circulation mix of a newspaper and whether it contains branded and digital editions when making comparisons.
Additional Newspaper Data from CAC
The Certified Audit of Circulations, a subsidiary of AAM, has its own version of Snapshot called Redi-Reference. The report, which has data for more than 700 additional newspapers, is now available in the Media Intelligence Center alongside Snapshot.
Looking Ahead: A Shift to Timelier Cross-Channel Data
Beginning in January 2014 U.S. newspapers with circulation over 25,000 will begin filing circulation figures quarterly, along with optional data covering monthly activity for digital channels like apps and websites.
The AAM board of directors’ vision is to provide publishers and advertisers with timelier and more relevant information — across all print and digital channels — housed in AAM's new Media Intelligence Center, where members can use sophisticated tools and features to analyze data.
For More Information
The Canadian newspaper Snapshot report will be released on Tuesday, Nov. 12. Additional information about the U.S. Snapshot is available in this blog post.
If you have questions, please contact the appropriate AAM department based on your question or membership type: