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October 28, 2013RSS Feed
FAQs about the September 2013 U.S. Newspaper Snapshot Report and Changes to Five-Day Averages
posted byScott Hanson, Executive Vice President
Categories:U.S. NewspapersSnapshot

The semiannual U.S. Snapshot report gives a first look into print and digital newspaper circulation and audience numbers for the six months ending Sept. 30, 2013. For this period, U.S. newspapers with circulations over 50,000 are no longer required to report Monday through Friday averages.  This is one of a number of changes happening in the U.S. newspaper division.

To explain the changes to this Snapshot report as well as upcoming developments for U.S. newspapers, here are the answers to some frequently asked questions.

What information will AAM release on Oct. 31?

The complete Snapshot report will be available in AAM’s Media Intelligence Center by 9 a.m. ET on Thursday, Oct. 31. This report will include averages for each day of the week for newspapers with circulation over 50,000, and newspapers also have the option to report additional averages. This document describes the different categories on the report, including total circulation, digital editions, branded editions and audience stats.

For the past several years, AAM has compiled industry averages and top 25 lists to supplement the complete Snapshot report. Because of the change to comparative five-day averages, AAM will not post comparative U.S. rankings or industry averages on our blog for this period.

What is the reason behind not requiring five-day averages?

Newspaper circulation includes a variety of platforms, from branded publications to replica and nonreplica digital editions. With these different platforms, circulation can vary significantly from day to day. Publishing plans also differ significantly between newspapers. A five-day average, therefore, does not accurately represent circulation across all newspapers. Earlier this year, the publishers and buyers on the AAM board agreed that a five-day average should no longer be required for U.S. newspapers with circulation of more than 50,000.

Will newspapers report any multiday averages? 

Yes, a five-day average is optional, as are additional daily combination averages. Newspapers with circulation of more than 50,000 will report circulation by each day of the week. We expect many newspapers will continue reporting five-day averages.

Can I still compare data?

As outlined in Rule A 1.2 Permissions and Prohibitions, equivalent data elements must be used when comparing newspapers. Circulation can only be compared across identical days (Monday to Monday, Tuesday to Tuesday, five-day average to five-day average, etc.). You should also note the circulation mix of a newspaper and whether it contains branded and digital editions when making comparisons.

How will averages appear on the Media Intelligence Center’s front page?

Newspapers choose one day to report geographic information in paragraph 3 of the audit report. This day is meant to represent their circulation throughout the entire period. Whichever day of the week the newspaper chooses for paragraph 3 will be featured on the front page of the Media Intelligence Center. For example, if a newspaper reports data for Tuesday, Oct. 22, in paragraph 3, the Media Intelligence Center’s front page will show the newspaper’s Tuesday average on the front page.

What number should I use to represent a newspaper’s weekday circulation?

Many newspapers will continue to report a five-day average, and you are welcome to use that number if a newspaper reports it. You may also use any of the individual weekday averages as long as they are labeled as such.

Is this how newspapers will continue to report data looking forward to 2014?  

Over the next year, U.S. newspapers with circulation over 25,000 are transitioning away from the traditional six-month publisher’s statement toward more frequent reporting. Beginning in January, newspapers will report their top-line and ZIP code circulation data for each quarter (the December 2013-ending quarter will be the first). Newspapers also have the option to report additional print products and monthly digital engagement metrics that would not typically be included on their statements. We’re shifting the focus from semiannual statements toward ongoing, current data that better meets the needs of advertisers.  

How will these changes affect the Media Intelligence Center?

AAM is enhancing the Media Intelligence Center with more frequent cross-media data and analysis apps. By implementing quarterly filing of cross-media data in 2014, newspapers are leading the way for all AAM media divisions. Data for more than 700 CAC newspapers will also be available in the Media Intelligence Center this fall and is expected to be fully integrated within one year. With more granular, comprehensive data, AAM is furthering providing better planning and analysis resources for media buyers and more exposure for publishers. 

Will CAC data be included in this Snapshot report?

CAC has its own version of Snapshot called Redi-Reference. For the first time, the September 2013 Redi-Reference will be available in the Media Intelligence Center. This report will be located alongside Snapshot in the Media Intelligence Center and will also be released on Thursday, Oct. 31.   

Does the change to five-day averages affect Canadian newspapers?

The changes to the five-day average only affect U.S. newspapers. Canadian newspapers, however, had their own set of notable changes for this reporting period.  The Canadian newspaper Snapshot report will be released on Tuesday, Nov. 12.

Who should I contact for more information?

Please contact the appropriate department based on your question or membership type:

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