Scarborough

Healthcare Marketing: Newspaper Decline Tapering Off

The decline in newspapers’ paid circulation is slowing down and online views of newspaper sites are continuing to increase.

Newspapers have faced a strong decline in paid circulation over the past several years.  It has been a great cause of concern for the industry and has lead to the death of several notable dailies.  And it has been a concern of advertisers as well.  Previously a mainstay of any advertising plan, its reach and effectiveness has taken a serious hit.

But it appears the decline in readership is finally slowing. In an article in Ad Age , Nat Ives reports that the Audit Bureau of Circulations indicated an 8.7% decrease in circulation during the latest reporting period compared to 10.6% in the previous period. Newspapers’ Sunday paid circulation fell 6.5% compare to 7.5% in the previous period. However, with the decline there are still nearly 100 million adults who read a newspaper every day, according to Scarborough Research.

The good news is that newspapers are attracting more and more viewers to their websites. Nielsen Online data indicated that newspaper websites have over 74.4 million unique visitors per month, more that a third of all internet users.

Healthcare marketers have traditionally relied on newspaper advertising as a key component of their advertising plan.  With the continuing decline in circulation, the medium has become less and less effective.  Advertising rates should reflect the decrease in readers.  The negative effect has been less dramatic in smaller markets where consumers have fewer sources for local news.  And newspaper websites are becoming more and more attractive as an advertising medium as more and more consumers go online for their news.

The advertising landscape continues to change.  It presents unique challenges and new opportunities for marketers.  Trends in reach and frequency and impact must continue to be monitored and allocation of dollars must shift appropriately to assure maximum effectiveness for our advertising expenditures.

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Hospital Advertising: Americans Still Reading Newspapers

Newspapers provide strong reach as large numbers of adults access news either in print or online.

Many have written newspapers off.  It’s not considered to be a viable advertising medium by some. Newspaper advertising revenues, down 45% in the last four years, seem to support this.

However, Scarborough’s latest Integrated Newspaper Audience study revealed that 74% of American adults either read a newspaper or visit a newspaper Web site at least once a week.  Even though the Audit Bureau of Circulations  shows a 14% decline in audience of the 125 largest newspapers since 2004, newspapers still reach 171 million Americans.

Erik Sass reported in the November 17th issue of MediaPost that newspapers deliver even higher readership among the well-heeled and well-educated.   He cites that the Scarborough study indicates that 79% of white-collar workers, 82% of adults with household incomes over $100,000 and 84% of college graduates have read a newspaper in the past week.

It must be noted that a growing number of adults access the print medium online.  A Nielson Online study for the Newspaper Association of America indicates that unique monthly visits to newspaper websites have increased from 41.1 million in 2004 to 71.8 million in 2009.

So even though there is much written about the death of American newspapers, they still provide a great reach opportunity.  With the combination of space advertising and online advertising, newspapers can still be effective at reaching a large audience, especially among the more affluent and well-educated.  And in smaller markets, community newspapers can even provide stronger audiences.  Newspapers still have a place in the media plans of local hospitals.

Americans receive their news in new and various ways.  Certainly this affects media strategies.  But newspapers can’t be written off.  Either in print or on the web, it’s still “read all over”.

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