1. Since the 1950s, there’s been a trend of consolidation and lessening competition.
The largest newspaper chains have been buying up smaller competitors for decades. Nowadays, 80% of all daily newspapers are owned by large media corporations, which usually operate multiple TV networks and various online media ventures, in addition to print and digital publishing.
2. The number of daily newspapers in the US is down by 488 in 50 years.
(Statista, Hussman School of Journalism and Media)
The number of daily print newspapers in America has fallen by almost 28%. A total of 488 dailies have disappeared in 50 years, from 1,748 in 1970 down to just 1,260 in 2020.
3. The US newspaper circulation numbers are at their lowest since 1940.
(Pew Research Center, PressGazette)
According to the latest available data, the combined daily print and digital circulation is estimated at 28.6 million, while Sunday press circulation is hovering over 30.8 million.
In the first three months of 2020, no major print newspaper has circulated more than a million copies daily — resulting in the industry’s least successful year since 1940.
4. Experts project newspaper market consumption volume will drop to 43.6 million copies by 2025.
(Grand View Research)
As online media consumption grows, print newspaper sales decline, resulting in a lesser market share and making the medium less appealing to advertisers. From 44.17 million copies in 2016, the volume is projected to drop to 43.6 million copies by 2025. This fall in market consumption volumes will inevitably have an impact on newspaper profits.
5. In 2020 alone, more than 300 US newspapers closed.
(The New York Times, Hussman School of Journalism and Media)
Across the US, newspapers have been closing and laying off staff.
The disappearance of many local daily papers is a major contributing factor to the newspaper industry’s decline. This phenomenon has left many journalists jobless and dozens of counties without a reliable source of information on local issues.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic also had a massive impact on US print media. More than 300 papers nationwide closed their doors due to the resulting financial crisis, and at least 6,000 US journalists have lost their jobs since the pandemic’s outbreak.
6. The US news media industry saw massive ad revenue declines in 2020.
(Pew Research Center)
Historically, advertising has been the single biggest source of revenue for papers. But due to the global pandemic, the median ad revenue of all publicly traded US news companies fell by a staggering 42% between the second quarter of 2019 and the same period in 2020.
With the decline of print advertising, many papers began relying on digital for their much-needed advertiser dollars. However, newspaper statistics show that digital ad revenue was down by 32% in 2020, leaving even the well-established papers strapped for cash.
7. 20% of US news readers paid to access online newspapers in 2020.
With newspaper revenue plummeting due to lack of advertising, papers are turning to online subscriptions and paid content to secure their financing.
According to a 2020 survey, 20% of US news readers paid to access online newspapers, most of them by subscribing to their favorite paper’s digital edition. This marked an increase of 4 percentage points from 2019, indicating that this model is slowly catching on in the US.
8. The New York Times is the most popular online newspaper, digital newspaper readership statistics show.
Of the people who subscribed to digital newspapers in 2020, 39% chose The New York Times. The Washington Post was second, with 31% of American news readers saying they had an online subscription to the paper. Interestingly, 30% subscribed to their local papers’ online editions, thus helping them overcome the pandemic-related financial struggles.
9. The Wall Street Journal had the highest print circulation of all US newspapers in 2020.
Newspaper sales statistics from the year’s first quarter show that The Wall Street Journal was by far the most popular with 994,600 copies distributed daily. All other papers were below the 500,000 mark — USA Today with 486,579 copies, The New York Times with 410,562, and The Washington Post with a daily circulation of 206,824 copies.