Garrett Harris 10:11 p.m., May 23
San Diego Big User of Virtual Retail Coupons
A new study of shopping coupons by Scarborough Research finds that Sunday newspapers are still the dominant distributors with 51% of the market, followed by in-store coupons at 35% and mailed coupons at 31%. Coming on fast are virtual coupons in the form of text messages and emails, according to MediaPostNews. Scarborough says 8% of U.S holds get coupons by text messages or emails and 7% get them from websites. The top markets for virtual coupons at around 11% are Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, San Diego, Washington D.C. and Providence, Rhode Island. All are tech-savvy markets with significant percentages of university students.
Grim news: newspaper ad revenue is down to 1965 levels, adjusted for inflation, according to study by Ryan Chittum of Columbia Journalism Review. Newspaper ad revenue plunged 16.7% last year and one prominent forecaster expects a 17.3% drop this year. This year's revenue should be $31.6 billion, below 1993 levels. But $31.6 billion in 1993 bought 49% more than it does today. This finding led Chittum to see how low newspaper ad revenue has sunk adjusted for inflation. And he found that this year's expected $31.9 billion is the same as 1965's level adjusted for inflation. So is the newspaper ad plunge of recent years merely a cyclical phenomenon that will rebound briskly when the economy recovers? Or is it a secular phenomenon, indicating a long term change in consumer habits? Chittum says it is secular: "The vast majority of these dollars are not coming back," he says.