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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.

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Visduh Aug. 26, 2009 @ 10:18 a.m.

With all of this shrinkage in the physical size of newspapers, what is happening to the newsprint (paper) market? It should be very soft, with mills shutting down. Or is the stuff being exported and staying strong? A generation ago, the Canadians dominated the newsprint business, and jacked prices up at will. We even called them the "blue eyed paper Arabs of the North." If they're hurting, it couldn't happen to a nicer, more deserving bunch of b(leeps).


Don Bauder Aug. 26, 2009 @ 11:37 a.m.

Response to post #1: One of the big paper mills went bankrupt recently. The shrinking of newspapers (both in size and number of pages) is expected to lower paper demand even more sharply, bringing down paper prices. That is one of the few bits of good news at newspapers these days. Best, Don Bauder


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