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November 6, 2007 / Toby Dayton

Newspapers Try To Change The Rules Of The Game

Like the playground kid who owns the bat and the ball and gets to pick the teams so he always wins, newspapers this week are making an attempt to change the rules of the game to try to stave off certain defeat. The nation’s newspapers and the Audit Bureau of Circulations announced that in reporting circulation numbers, they will begin including online readers and non-paid circulation (which includes things like free newspapers at local hotels and bundles of papers dropped off at local high schools) in their rapidly evaporating paid readership numbers. While these additional two categories of readers and ‘Total Audience’ are relevant to some degree to advertisers, they are far less valuable to advertisers than paid readership and should be reported separately. The dailies should be reviled for this pathetic attempt to change the rules of the game to artificially pad their sagging paid readership circulation. Fortunately, they don’t own the bat and the ball and they don’t get to make the rules. Advertisers do. And most advertisers will see right through this desperate ploy and kick them off the field.

[tags]Daily Newspapers, Sagging Readership, Declining Circulation, Trying To Change The Rules, Death of the Dailies, Audit Bureau of Circulations, Paid Readership, Free Newspapers, Online Readership, Newspaper Web Sites[/tags]