Newspaper circulation audits help weeklies

ST. LOUIS - Before the national newspaper circulation narrative turns to gloom and doom, there's plenty of reason for weekly newspapers to celebrate at the community level.

Audit data for the first half of 2009 by the award-winning Circulation Verification Council (CVC), shows continued circulation stability across the community and in niche publication sectors.

The Eagle and Rutland Tribune newspapers are regularly audited by the CVC.

Circulation gains were reported by 45 percent of the publications in the community newspaper category; 54 percent of the publications in the alternative newsweeklies category; and 54 percent of the publications in the ethnic publications category;

Good news for community papers is good news for advertisers, too, according to the CVC, a Missouri-based firm.

The number of readers of CVC-audited newspapers indicate that they frequently purchase products or services from advertisements seen in their CVC-audited community and niche publications; this number is up over a point from last year, topping 3 out of 4 with a 75.6 percent score.

"This increase is potentially significant, because so-called purchase intention scores have been stable for years," said CVC President Tim Bingaman. "A blip in the national average of one to two percent requires substantial change in purchasing behaviors from existing newspaper readers. This shows that readers are increasingly looking to community and niche publications to research sales and buying opportunities before spending money."

Some critics of free CVC-audited newspapers might rain on the parade out of knee-jerk reaction, but "CVC is scrutinizing the numbers, calling readers in our markets, and delivering statistically certain bona fides (for newspaper advertisers)," Bingaman said.

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