Newspaper Thanksgiving Day editions set records
2011 Thanksgiving Day shopping inserts break records for heft and number; Consumers pay premium prices for newspapers’ Thanksgiving editions, while single-copy sales increase
Vice President of Communications
December 13, 2011
Arlington, Va. – Advertisers and consumers who focused on the 2011 Thanksgiving weekend holiday shopping kickoff enthusiastically turned to local newspapers and advertising preprint inserts for information on the best deals. The exceptional value consumers find in their local newspaper inserts was reflected in a spike in circulation revenues across the country.
Meanwhile, the continued effectiveness of inserts in driving consumers to action was evident in resurgent advertiser demand, which resulted in a record number of inserts in many markets. According to a sampling of major newspaper groups and independent properties conducted by the Newspaper Association of America, newspapers across the country reported Thanksgiving newspaper bundles frequently weighing 5 pounds or more. For example, The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer (published by The McClatchy Company) carried an unprecedented 87 shopping inserts and weighed in at a record-breaking 6.5 pounds.
"Thanksgiving was a shining example of how much newspapers matter to readers and to advertisers – in fact, to the whole economy," said Caroline Little, NAA president and CEO. "Studies show that consumers consider newspapers their most valuable source for shopping planning information, with 79 percent using preprinted inserts in the last 30 days, and insert use growing most swiftly among those ages 25-34. The start of this year’s holiday shopping season gave new life to these numbers, and proved once again the vitality and resourcefulness of newspapers and their publishers."
Marked increases in advertising preprints and single-copy sales were seen at newspapers in markets large and small and in all regions, including: The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.; Times Union, Albany, N.Y.; The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C.; The Tennessean, Nashville; The Charlotte Observer; Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader; and The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee.
The Charlotte Observer’s Thanksgiving Day edition was distributed in four pieces. The paper charged its standard Sunday rate of $2 and sold 4,916 more copies, compared to 2008 when it charged only 50 cents per copy.
Media General Inc. experienced significant growth in preprint revenue in most of its Florida, Virginia and North Carolina markets and saw record numbers of inserts at several newspapers. The company reported that ROP advertising on Thanksgiving Day also increased over 2010.
The Dallas Morning News’ Thanksgiving Day edition was the largest collated pack of advertising preprints the A.H. Belo Corp. paper has ever produced, with a 5.6 percent increase in preprints compared to last year and a 6.8 increase in the number of advertisers. In its third year of selling the Thanksgiving edition at the Sunday price of $3, The Morning News still tripled newsstand sales compared to a typical Thursday.
"The successes that newspapers experienced on Thanksgiving Day come at a time when newspapers continue to report positive momentum such as strong overall Sunday sales and circulation gains," said NAA Chairman Michael Reed, president and CEO, GateHouse Media. "The credibility and quality associated with the overall newspaper brand continues to prove a powerful draw among consumers and advertisers."
NAA is a nonprofit organization representing nearly 2,000 newspapers and their multiplatform businesses in the United States and Canada. NAA members include daily newspapers, as well as nondailies, other print publications and online products. Headquartered near Washington, D.C., in Arlington, Va., the association focuses on the major issues that affect today's newspaper industry: public policy/legal matters, advertising revenue growth and audience development across the medium's broad portfolio of products and digital platforms. Information about NAA and the industry also may be found at www.naa.org.