USA Today No Longer Country's Largest Newspaper After 17% Drop In Circulation
Go long Gannett at your own peril (although the short squeeze has a little more to play out so you are probably cool for a few more days). According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, in a memo submitted to staff on Friday, "USA Today publisher David Hunke said the average circulation at the
Gannett Co.-owned newspaper was 1.88 million from April through
September. That marks a loss of 398,000 copies, or 17 percent, from the
same period the year before at the newspaper, which is printed on
weekdays only." The reason for this unprecedented drop, which will put the paper in second position behind a growing Wall Street Journal, is the "growth of online news and the slump in travel pummel the newspaper."
The reason for the Gannett empire's continuing asset value destruction is the "while most large dailies are struggling to hold on to print subscribers
and newsstand sales, USA Today is being hurt by a drop in traffic at
airports and hotels, the newspaper's mainstay. It also increased the
price of single copies to $1 from 75 cents last December."
Adding insult to injury, the WSJ, whose most recent daily circulation was 2.08, has confirmed GCI's fall from grace.
Dow Jones, the Journal's parent company, declined to give out the
newspaper's circulation figures for the period, but spokesman Robert
Christie said, "The Journal is now the largest newspaper by
And so the continued shift from old to new media continues, with information increasingly becoming a commodity courtesy of millions of bloggers who mercilessly suck on the Google crawler's tentacles, grasping and reaching every single relevant bit of data about any and every topic discussed, usually seconds after its "accession" (the time frame of capture is the only reason why Twitter has any value currently; as Google closes in on this last valuation loophole, expect the founders of Twitter to promptly find solace in whatever final valuation round they can get their hands on). Yet this brings up the question: while it may be too late for Gannett, how will the remaining titans of the old media empire respond vis-a-vis this encroaching commoditization of information, and when will the Google bot finally be no longer welcome at the "News Corp., Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg, Time Warner, etc." media complex. Ironically: the shift to "old school" information dissemination may be the only thing that can save MSM at this point (or at least give it some more years of breathing room). Its occurrence is likely just a matter of time, especially with Rupert Murdoch (and soon many others) finally deciding he has had enough of pesky secondary regurgitators.