Have started counting readers as paid circulation. Since every paid copy is supposedly read by many others, that drastically inflates the ABC number, and makes paid advertising more valuable.
I would not be surprised. Newspapers are in deep, deep trouble. Alan Mutter at Newsosaur notes that “the drop in sales in the first three quarters of 2009 is roughly equal to the combined revenues for the last 12 months of Gannett and McClatchy.”
The fact is that print advertising has pretty much gone to the free advertising tabloids. There are thousands of them, they are cheaper than the chain media, and their advertising pulls. In a time when results are everything.
Of course, those most responsible for the decline deny everything. After all, it has been almost 125 years since the public gladly paid a penny for the gambler’s Epitaph and the Sheriff’s Globe. Two cents would get you both sides of any issue!
But today, media buyouts have killed the opposing voice. Since outhouses and a bird cage in every parlor have gone out of style, todays newspapers give readers little reason to buy a paper.