Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Inland issues ‘reworked’ profit study

The Inland Press Association today reissued an online summary of a newspaper-profitability study after questions were raised about it.

The original summary of the findings was the basis for this Newsosaur post, which stated that Inland found newspapers with circulation greater than 80,000 suffered a 100.1% drop in operating earnings since 2004 but that they had average profits of 12% in 2008.

Tim Mather, an analyst for the association, said the report was withdrawn from the organization’s website during the afternoon so editors could “rework what was previously communicated” about its study of publishing profits over the last five years. The new summary was posted here at the end of the business day.

In discussing the revised summary, Mather said the 12% profit figure represents the average profitability of the surveyed publications over the last five years, not just 2008. He declined to provide data on 2008 profitability, saying it was available only to those who purchased the report from Inland.

When Inland first announced the study last week, it contained errors that suggested newspapers with circulation of 25k-50k had suffered a 190% plunge in profitability in the last five years. On Monday, Inland reported that the drop was 90% and today said the number is 89.1%

“The purpose of the trend analysis is to track newspaper profitability over the last five years and it does that,” said Mather. “But it is not a reflection of today’s full reality.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Inland needs to 'rework' those statistics on profit decline.

If operating profit declines by 100.1%, the result is a net loss, not a smaller profit.

If this is an example of journalistic numeracy, how can we trust reports on the national economy?

4:41 PM  
Anonymous mu said...

We can't trust reports on the national economy or anything else for that matter. We've just seen the reason why: much of modern journalism is just regurgitated press releases without investigation, interpretation, or useful fact checking.

Why is it that the news industry deserves to survive again? Yes, someone needs to keep an eye on what's afoot but the news industry isn't doing it, they're just pretending to do it (and not even pretending that well given the latest WaPo access buying nonsense).

5:22 PM  
Blogger California Girl said...

I find the disintegration of newspaper readership and radio listening terribly sad. But I plead guilty. I no longer read a daily, even tho' we have the Boston Globe, and I listen and have listened primarily to NPR for years.

7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are some nuggets in that revised report that I found interesting, in spite of the clumsy first draft of this report. For example, one small paper doubling its classified ads in spite of Craigslist. They don't say where this paper is, but I would guess it has no competition from Craigslist because CL hasn't expanded yet into its territory. If that is not the case, I would like to know more about how this paper pulled off a doubling of classified in this market.

6:36 AM  
Blogger Bradley J. Fikes said...

The findings are probably of some value, as long as you don't expect the numbers to be accurate.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

California Girl: Where do you think NPR finds its news?

2:35 PM  

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