Newspapers may face Nielsen-like ratings

Newspapers may face Nielsen-like ratings
Newspapers have always offered only daily average circulation numbers to advertisers. The Sunday paper has its own circulation number (because it’s higher), but the other 6 days are averaged together, much to the chagrin of advertisers. It doesn’t matter which day your ad runs. The cost is the same. In terms TV people understand, it would be like selling an overnight spot at a prime time rate. Advertisers have known they were getting screwed, but they were powerless to do anything about it. Now comes word, in an Editor & Publisher story, that when the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) board members meet in early November, they’ll be considering requiring newspapers to report circulation averages by each day of the week. This has advertisers thrilled and newspaper executives shivering. A lot of people feel that television’s downfall began with Nielsen meters that tracked viewership minute-by-minute. That led to the concept of “managing audience flow,” which is what most TV stations are concerned with these days. Advertisers love the meters, because they can prove bang for the buck. So what’s going to happen now to the Tuesday paper, the least read paper of the week? We can only imagine, but watch for attempts to boost that particular day.

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