Enquirer Has Double-Digit Drop

As the newspaper industry continues to suffer from declining ad revenues and a migration of readers to the Internet, The Cincinnati Enquirer is being hit particularly hard.

Dozens of newspapers nationwide reported drops in circulation, according to the latest figures released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. But the figures reported for Cincinnati’s only daily metropolitan newspaper were in the double-digits, well above the national average decline of 7 percent.—-

For the six-month period ending in March, The Enquirer’s daily (Monday-Friday) circulation fell 11 percent to 188,956. Also, the newspaper’s Saturday circulation fell 11.4 percent to 187,719.

One bit of not-so-bad news for the Gannett-owned publication is that the drop in its Sunday circulation was much smaller, down just 2.2 percent to 273,433.

In an expansive March 12 article in The New York Times about the newspaper industry’s troubles, a graphic appeared showing circulation changes for many newspapers nationwide. On the list, The Enquirer was one of only six newspapers that showed circulation increases.

Those figures, however, covered the period from the third quarter of 2005 to the third quarter of 2008, which includes a significant chunk of time before the most recent downturn began. Further, The Enquirer experienced a slight bump in circulation after The Cincinnati Post closed in December 2007, largely from Northern Kentucky readers whose subscriptions were transferred to The Enquirer, some media analysts said.

It’s little surprise, then, that a recent memo issued by The Enquirer’s publisher refers to the operation as “Enquirer Media,” deemphasizing the newspaper in favor of its Internet and other products.

Publisher Margaret Buchanan’s April 20 memo discusses this year’s operational plan for the media outlet, which outlines goals for the company.

“We are more than a newspaper,” Buchanan wrote. “We are the leading source of local news and information both offline and online through more than 50 distinct local print, online and mobile products.

“Our primary audience delivery objective is to provide a broad range of effective reach and frequency delivery for advertisers of demographically defined audiences and narrowly defined geographic target audiences – and Enquirer Media provides effective reach and frequency of key audience groups in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky for advertisers. Our aggregated seven-day reach among the most upscale adults in the market, those with household income of $100,000 or more, is an impressive 88 percent.”

Enquirer Media’s target audiences in 2009 will be women ages 25 to 49, men ages 35 to 49, young professionals and adults in Northern Kentucky, southwestern Warren and southeastern Butler counties.

“Enquirer Media is a vibrant, growing, innovative company within Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky,” Buchanan wrote. “Our advertisers meet their business goals because we help them reach the right consumer at the right time with the right message in the right way.”

During the last year, The Enquirer has laid off several employees, reduced the space for news content in the paper and required most workers to take two unpaid week-long furloughs.

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