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NAA Reports: Newspaper Readership Up, Papers Sold Down

Press release from the issuing company

More Than 8 in 10 People Read the Newspaper Over the Course of a Week, CMI Finds; Audit Bureau of Circulations Report Indicates Slight Decline In Number of Papers Sold VIENNA, Va., May 1 -- Newspaper readership in the top 50 U.S. markets continued to show improvement in the Newspaper Association of America's Spring 2002 Competitive Media Index, with 55.5 percent of adults reading a newspaper each weekday. Over the course of a week (5 weekdays plus a Sunday), newspapers reach 81.8 percent of adults. The CMI is an NAA analysis of market data from Scarborough Research for the period ending September 2001. Daily newspaper readership gained in the latest report, up from 54.3 percent in the Fall 2001 CMI, which itself was a gain over the 53.5 percent reported at this time last year. Over five weekdays, three-quarters of adults (74.5 percent) in the top 50 markets read a daily newspaper at least once. Sunday readership held steady at 63.9 percent of adults reading the paper each week. This was up slightly from the 63.7 percent reported in the CMI last fall, and about the same as the 63.8 percent from last spring. Over four Sundays, 77.5 percent of adults read a newspaper at least once. "These readership numbers are encouraging," commented NAA President and CEO John F. Sturm. "The newspaper industry has been working very hard on improving readership, particularly since we launched the Readership Initiative three years ago. Each year, we uncover new and innovative strategies to improve our reach." The latest Fas-Fax data from the Audit Bureau of Circulations for the six- month period ending March 31, 2002 shows average daily net-paid circulation in the 820 papers reporting dipped slightly from the year before, 0.6 percent, to 50,687,764. On Sunday, the trend for the 635 papers reporting was about same, falling 0.7 percent to 54,327,477. "The circulation numbers are not surprising in a down economy," Sturm explained. "Many newspapers have scaled back their promotional spending, as well as pulling back physically from some sales locations on the outer edges of their markets. "Nevertheless, when you look at these reports side by side, you can see that newspapers are delivering the reader base that advertisers value. It also clearly demonstrates what we've been saying for some time -- more people read a newspaper than buy one," he added. The CMI found that some media showed growth over the same period, while others held steady. The average half-hour of prime-time broadcast TV reached 38.6 percent of adults in the top 50 markets, down slightly from the Fall 2001 CMI (38.8 percent) but similar to the report of this time last year (38.6 percent). The average half-hour of prime-time cable TV programming reached 12.6 percent of adults in these markets, compared to 12.9 percent in the fall CMI report and 12.2 percent in the spring. The average 15 minutes of radio morning drive time reached 22.5 percent of adults in the top 50 markets, a gain over the 21.9 percent reported last fall but slightly less than the 22.9 percent in the Spring 2001 CMI. The same time period for the afternoon drive was 18.3 percent in this report, up from 17.9 in the fall but less than the 18.5 percent in last spring's CMI. The CMI is based on audience research data collected by Scarborough Research, New York City, to which NAA subscribes. Scarborough, a leading media/market research firm, measures 75 DMAs (including the top 50). Scarborough collects data via telephone interview and a mailed consumer survey booklet and seven-day TV diary. Scarborough collected fieldwork for Release Two 2001 from Aug. 15, 2000 through Sept. 15, 2001. NAA is a nonprofit organization representing the $55 billion newspaper industry and more than 2,000 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada. Most NAA members are daily newspapers, accounting for 87 percent of the U.S. daily circulation. Headquartered in Tysons Corner (Vienna, Va.), the Association focuses on six key strategic priorities that affect the newspaper industry collectively: marketing, public policy, diversity, industry development, newspaper operations and readership. Information about NAA and the industry may also be found at the Association's World Wide Web site on the Internet (http://www.naa.org ).

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