Saturday, April 16, 2005

Tribune Co. to Show Circulation Losses; 'L.A. Times' Down More than 5.5%


Los Angeles Times circulation declines 5.5 %.

Surprise! Surprise!

Read the story here:

Circulation at Tribune Co. papers will show declines in the next Fas-Fax report, with the most troubling plunge at the Los Angeles Times, Tribune Publishing President Scott Smith confirmed during a conference call with analysts this morning.

Though executives declined to break out individual paper's Fas-Fax numbers, which are due out in May, Smith acknowledged the Times will drop slightly more than 5.5%.

Smith said that for the entire group, home-delivered copies are down about 4% while the drop in single-copy sales is even greater.

Q1 circulation revenue for the company was down 9% due to "volume discounts." The largest revenue drops occurred at the Los Angeles Times and Newsday. Excluding the two papers, circulation revenue for the company would have been down 4%.

This piece of information didn't keep analysts from circling around the L.A. Times. When asked why the paper is experiencing such steep circ losses compared to the competition's -- the Los Angeles Daily News, for example, was flat last period -- Smith explained the Times relied too heavily on telemarketing. That, along with the implementation of tighter controls on field sales, contributed to the drop-off.

Smith, however, reassured analysts that company-wide bleeding will slow. "Our goal is to substantially reduce year-over-year declines in home-delivery and single copy sales in the September Fas-Fax," he said. "The rate of decline should diminish between now and September."

Dennis FitzSimons, chairman, president and CEO of Tribune, shed some light on General Motors pulling its advertising from paper. After reaching out to "multiple contacts," FitzSimons said that there is no indication of factual errors at this time in any of the stories or columns written about the auto company, which prompted the pullout. However, the paper is still reviewing the matter....

Read the rest here.

Maybe John Carroll will get IT?

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