Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

May 3, 2005

Monday Bloody Monday for Newspapers


In a story that indicates a potentially dim future for comic strips, yesterday several major newspapers faced new, accurate, and largely disappointing numbers regarding their respective circulations. The new report comes on the heels of "Do Not Call" legislation's impact on subscription sales, the employment of some better counting methods, and blatant abuse of numbers at a few high-profile dailies not included here. Newspapers want higher numbers to bring to advertisers in order to set higher rates.

What the new numbers seems to indicate is that the slow death of the general-interest print publication, including the daily newspaper, may be a half-step further along than feared (One wonders if the widespread of availability of high-speed Internet, which helps broaden the type of information retrievable on-line, hasn't played a role as well). What growth is taking place is in small newspapers, which traditionally have smaller (single-page) or no comics offerings. Also, it seems logical that syndicates may have to adjust fees they receive from newspapers for comic strip content, which is usually determined by circulation -- although I can't expect this to happen automatically, and wouldn't be surprised if it didn't happen at all.
posted 8:53 am PST | Permalink

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