Home » OPINION » Columns » TODD SMITH — State of the News media report released from Pew; newspaper circulation down more than 10%

TODD SMITH — State of the News media report released from Pew; newspaper circulation down more than 10%

Each year since the early 2000s, the Pew Research Center has released its State of the News Media report, showcasing key audience and economic indicators across the U.S. news media landscape.

This data pinpoints the shifting ways Americans seek news and information in an increasingly digital world.

The press – often referred to as the fourth branch of government – is also very much a business. And its ability to make an impact with the public is dependent on its ability to attract eyes and dollars!

This year, instead of a single report, Pew developed a series of fact sheets spotlighting the most important info from each sector. Over the coming weeks, The Spin Cycle will dive into these reports. This week, our focus is on newspapers.

Newspapers have long been called the first rough draft of history, and they have been a part of our daily lives through the ages. But the biz is going through rapid transformation – and has been hit hard by consumer thirst for digital news.

Subscribers have been in decline since the early 2000s, while web traffic has grown for many news outlets globally.

Alt-weekly papers have also seen their circulation drop.

The estimated total U.S. daily newspaper circulation (print and digital combined) in 2017 was 31 million for weekday and 34 million for Sunday, down 11% and 10%, respectively from the previous year, according to the Pew report. Declines were highest in print circulation: Weekday print circulation decreased 11% and Sunday circulation decreased 10%.

Digital circulation is more difficult to gauge. Three of the highest-circulation daily papers in the U.S. – The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post – have in recent years not fully reported their digital circulation to the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM), the group that audits the circulation figures of many of the largest North American newspapers and other publications. Two of these papers report such digital circulation elsewhere: The New York Times in their financial statements and The Wall Street Journal in reports available on the Dow Jones website. (The Washington Post does not fully report digital circulation in any forum.)

But because they may not be counted under the same rules used by AAM, these independently produced figures cannot easily be merged with the AAM data, according to the report.

Using the AAM data, digital circulation in 2017 was projected to have fallen, with weekday down 9% and Sunday also down 9%. According to the independently produced reports from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, however, both companies saw large gains in digital circulation in the past year: 42% for the Times and 26% for the Journal, on top of gains in 2016. If these independently produced figures were included in both 2016 and 2017, weekday digital circulation would have risen by 10%.

This would also change the overall picture for combined print and digital circulation. Including the digital boost driven by these two large, national brands would still result in an overall drop in circulation year-over-year, but a smaller one: Overall weekday circulation would have fallen by 4% in 2017 rather than 11%, according to the report.

Beyond daily newspapers, many U.S. cities have what are known as “alt-weekly” papers – weekly newspapers, generally distributed for free, which put a heavy focus on arts and culture. Average circulation for the top 20 U.S. alt-weekly papers is just over 55,000, a 10% decline from 2016.

Considering the newspaper industry as a whole, the total estimated newspaper industry advertising revenue for 2017 was $16.5 billion, based on the Center’s analysis of financial statements for publicly traded newspaper companies. This decreased 10% from 2016. Total estimated circulation revenue was $11 billion, which is changed only slightly from 2016, up by 3%.

Pizza Hut brings back vintage logo

The Hut is bringing back the red roof!

Pizza Hut has relaunched its iconic, red-roofed logo that you might recall from its 32-year run from 1967–1999.

The classic logo will be used interchangeably with Pizza Hut’s current, red-swirl logo in national advertising campaigns. The red roof will also make an appearance on delivery boxes later this year.

The move is largely seen as adding some zestful toppings to the chain’s stale pizza sales in the U.S., Nation’s Restaurant News reports. The vintage logo reportedly tested well with customers, who responded enthusiastically to retro features like restaurants with red roofs and red-and-white-checkered tablecloths.

The Takeout theorized that the change is timed to “cash in on Netflix’s latest wave of ‘80s nostalgia” with the upcoming release of the next season of Stranger Things.

Whether that’s secret marketing sauce or not, we all like to chow down on nostalgia, and the big brands are happy to serve it up!

Bottle Cap Mic: Latest Challenge Takes World by Storm

Call it the ultimate spin!

The Bottle Cap Challenge has officially been accepted by the world – and celebrities and common folk across the universe are trying their feet at it.

Just over a week after the action-movie star Jason Statham kicked off the excitement by whipping 360 degrees to meticulously unscrew the cap of a bottle with his foot, the challenge has gone viral.

By July 8, Statham’s video had been viewed more than 19 million times and had helped inspire thousands of others around the world to put their own spin on the challenge, using everything from cheap shoes to sports cars – and everything in between!

Mariah Carey was one of many celebrities who got in on the spin, using her well-known vocals to uncap a bottle.

Ryan Reynolds submitted his own video, which ended in failure, while a shirtless Justin Bieber was successful in his quest.

Kendall Jenner performed the viral stunt from a jet ski. In a slow-motion video posted to her Instagram account, the 23-year-old “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” star approaches a bottle from her jet ski and kicks off the loosened lid.

One musician played a ditty on his violin and then used his bow to uncap a bottle. A car enthusiast apparently used the spoiler of his purple sports car to uncork a bottle of champagne, and Steel Lafferty, a professional wakeboarder, used his expertise to uncap a bottle while zipping around Orlando, Fla.

It’s not the first viral bottle challenge – remember flip the bottle?

This challenge is to unscrew the cap with a roundhouse kick without knocking the bottle over. The trick, as you might have guessed, is to loosen the cap beforehand and have someone off-camera hold the bottle steady. Many people have posted their videos in slow motion, making the feat seem that much more impressive.

» Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.

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