For an industry already on a ventilator, today's FAS-FAX numbers just steal more breath.
- National papers are doing better than metros. The Wall Street Journal and USAToday are both flat, the New York Times down 3.5%. We've seen this trend, more or less, for four years now.
- Community dailies are doing better than metros. Check out the Jen and Fitz list. It's heavy on these dailies that have both better community connection and less commoditized content. Same trend as last four years as well.
- Yes, overall audience, now measured by industry's Scarborough combined report, is growing. However, flagging online growth numbers -- largely because of the reliance on classified bundling -- show that taking advantage of this new combined audience is an early-stage, slow-moving, work-in-progress.
- New blood does not equal turnaround. Despite Brian Tierney's spirited, take-it-to-the community campaign in Philly, the Inquirer's down another 11% daily. In Minneapolis, on-the-brink Avista suffered another 4% daily decline. Tribune, with its raft of changes (though most of the redesigns occurred at the end of the reporting period), took losses, including 7.75% at the Chicago Tribune.
- Sunday's as hard hit as daily. The big ad day was down another 5%. That will translate into still less of a mass market, and less print revenue in 2009.
As of December 1, we will cancel all subscriptions (newspaper and magazine) for executives and production employees and move them to on-line. This change will have the added benefit of helping the environment. If there are particular circumstances where you believe this will materially impair your ability to get your work done, you should make your case to your executive producer or supervisor by November 15th.