iewPoint | Volume 2 | Number 7 | July 2006
A forum for news about Verified and the business in which we thrive.

This Month's Features:
Courting the Boomers
Choose Your Publication Type
CRMA Newsstand Sell-Through Study
Front Page Picked by Readers
Newspapers (Apparently) Look Better From the Front
Events Calendar
Guide to Your Audit: Paid Racks and Dealers (Single Copy Sales)

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Courting the Boomers

Madison Avenue has long considered consumers between the ages of 18 and 49 to be the prime marketing target. This key group was considered more willing to try new items, switch brands and start households. Marketing to older consumers was generally an afterthought.

This older demographic can't be relegated to the sidelines anymore. "Baby boomers," people born between 1946 and 1964, represent 78 million consumers. Boomers are now the largest chunk of the U.S. population.

"Those wishing to be successful in the market can't ignore the boomer numbers—the wealth and spending power they have," said Pat Conroy, vice chairman and national managing principal for the consumer business practice at Deloitte & Touche in Indianapolis.

"The boomers have redefined every age they've moved through, so there's no reason to believe they will not redefine the stereotypes of what it means to be retired," he added. "Depression babies saved, not spending unless it was necessary. But because this generation grew up in prosperity, they don't have that bunker mentality. They're not worried about putting money in the mattress."

Boomers are looking at retirement differently than their parents or grandparents. They see retirement as a transitional phase and a chance to rediscover themselves. Boomers are healthier, more affluent, and see themselves as youthful. They have little loyalty to products, experts say, so they are good targets for ad pitches.

Cosmetic brands such as L'Oreal, Olay, and Almay have launched make-up lines directed to persons over 50 years of age. Instead of covering up wrinkles and hiding gray hair, the focus of these products is beauty at a later stage in life.

AARP magazine said it posted a 21% increase in advertising revenue for the first three months of 2006, compared to the industry average of 0.4%. Among new advertisers are cosmetics. "A couple of years ago, we had nobody advertising beauty products in the magazine," said Jim Fishman, group publisher for AARP publications.

"All of a sudden corporate America is waking up to what's going on," said David Wolfe, a prominent marketing consultant and author who follows generational themes in advertising.

Marketers now chasing boomers include food makers, fitness salons, TV networks, and clothing lines. Toyota, The Gap, Inc., Vespa, and National Geographic Expeditions have ads specifically targeted to boomers. An ad campaign by Genworth Financial features six active seniors, all at least 100 years old, promoting planning for the future no matter what age or stage in life.

According to a recently updated study called the Demographic Profile of American Baby Boomers by the MetLife Mature Market Institute, boomers have an estimated annual spending power of more than $2 trillion. The younger boomers (born 1956-64) typically spend most of their money on children and mortgages. Older boomers (born 1946-55) have said goodbye to their grown children and spend more on upgrading their homes and clothing.

Choose Your Publication Type

In our ongoing efforts to better serve our clients, we are making publication data searches on our Website easier and more efficient for media buyers and advertisers. In the On-line Data & Reports section of Verified's Website, we have added the ability to search by publication type. Other search criteria include publication name, publishing company, city, state, and ZIP/Postal code.

If you haven't done so before, please take a moment to click here or on the image below, and tell us how to categorize your publication so it receives maximum exposure. If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact us at 415-461-6006.

CRMA Newsstand Sell-Through Study

A recent research study by the City and Regional Magazine Association invited its members to share their newsstand sell-through rates. The study examined the October 2005 issue. The results listed total draw, sell-through rate, and cover topic for each of the issues.

Of the 31 respondents, the study found that the average sell-through rate for the issue was 46.5%. The highest sell-through was 100% and the lowest sell-through was 25.5%. Overall, city and regional magazines fared much better on the newsstand than national consumer titles, which have an average sell-through rate of about 30%.

Total newsstand draw varied significantly for each magazine. The highest draw was 49,000 while the lowest just 300. The average draw was 13,000.

Cover topics ranged from Carmen Electra to inexpensive places to eat. The most common cover topics, in order, were travel, doctors/medical, celebrities, fashion, food/restaurant, home/design, and arts/entertainment.

Front Page Picked by Readers

Television has always relied on ratings to know what people are watching. The Neilsens and sweeps week determine the fate of your favorite shows. Newspapers may now be taking a page from the TV playbook.

At the Washington Post's afternoon story meeting, editors report on the popularity of stories by taking information from their Website. Executive Editor Leonard Downie, Jr. said, "What I use it for, personally, is to see what is interesting to the public." Downie said, "We don't rely on it exclusively—but it's a helpful tool to have along with letters to the editor, e-mails and other information." Other newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Atlanta Journal-Constitution, are using similar strategies.

Before, choosing important news was solely based on journalists' instincts. "What this technology tests is to what extent journalists feel they are agenda-setters who also lead a community rather than tell people what they want to hear," says Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism. "But if you decide to produce journalism that only focuses on those stories that a lot of people are interested in, you may end up shrinking your overall audience by leaving too many things and too many people out of what you are covering."

Stories about celebrities, sex, scandal and animals have been the best draws at most papers' Websites. Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat wrote, "A lot of the stories on the list are what we serious-minded media professionals would imperiously call 'soft.'" He was disillusioned by reader Website choices. "There's not much on the so-called 'issues' we're always implored to focus on, such as transportation or education. Nothing on the big campaign topics of the year... Maybe the Web favors shorter, more emotional stories and paying subscribers are happily wading through my columns on transit policy or our three-part projects."

"Newspapers are supposed to be a very special kind of industry," says Robert Thompson, founding director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University. "The idea was that we always hoped that newspapers didn't operate completely according to the marketplace. But this ratings [scenario] is a whole new ballgame."

A scoop by the LA Times defense correspondent Mark Mazzetti (who is now with the New York Times) about the U.S. military planting stories in the Iraqi media began as the lead story on the Website. After being taken down for a while it was posted again, but given a less prominent spot.

Joseph Pulitzer, William Randolph Hearst, Robert R. McCormick and other industry pioneers made newspapers a mass medium at the turn of the century. They employed hucksterism, salaciousness, and even product giveaways to entice readers. But they also helped develop investigative reporting and consumer journalism.

Some news aggregators, such as Yahoo!, list the most read and emailed stories, but also the most "recommended." The recommended stories are sometimes stories that would be considered more "serious news" by journalists.

The Wisconsin State Journal, the state's second-largest newspaper, has embraced this new idea of reader-chosen stories wholeheartedly. In January 2006, the paper began allowing readers to vote on the story they would most like to see on the front page of the print edition. Each day, the paper chooses five stories to list on their Website. Readers can then pick the story they would most like to see.

"I see the Reader's Choice as a tool to enhance interactivity," said Wisconsin State Journal editor, Ellen Foley. "There have been a couple of stories that we did put on the front page that we would not have." Foley has been impressed with the readers' choices, and she doesn't believe that her paper is dodging its editorial responsibility to judge newsworthy topics themselves. Editors still provide the choices for voting, and they do not have to follow the readers' picks.

Foley said in an interview with NPR radio, "I think that there was a time...when editors felt that they were the only smart people and it was their job to educate the public by putting certain stories in the paper. That era has gone. We have seen evidence of the readers' displeasure with that in our shrinking circulations, and we have learned, as editors, that we are not the only people that have a good sense of the news."

There is little doubt that ratings will affect newspaper content in the future just as it has done with television. The question is, how much? Experts seem to agree that, to survive, newspapers have to strike a balance between what readers want and what they consider important news.

Newspapers (Apparently) Look Better From the Front

According to The Media Audit, the percentage of adults reading the front section of a daily newspaper from 2000 to 2005 increased from 51.4 to 53.0 percent in the 87 metropolitan markets surveyed regularly.

Bob Jordan, president of International Demographics and producer of The Media Audit, said "The same research shows the percentage of adults reading the other 11 sections of a daily newspaper declined." Jordan emphasizes readership, saying that "We measure readership only."

The percentage of adults reading the front section varies from 68.2 percent in the New Haven metropolitan area to 41.8 percent in the Las Vegas market. There are 16 markets where more than 60 percent of adults read a front page section regularly and 19 markets where less than 50 percent read a front page section regularly.

The severest decline in percentage of readers was in the weekend television guide book. Its percentage of readers dropped from 31.9 to 23.1 between 2000 and 2005 because it appears to be the most easily duplicated by other media.

Other section readership changes during this period include:
  • The Movie/Entertainment section readership dropped from 26.5 to 23.1
  • Travel sections dropped from 19.6 to 17.7
  • Lifestyle/Fashion dropped from 23.7 to 21.7.
  • Other sections lost about one percentage point.
"Five years without growth is a substantial problem," said Jordan.

The demographic profile of front-page readership shows the group to be better educated and more affluent than the general population.
  • Those earning more than $50,000 in annual household income index at 108 (100 is average of the general population).
  • Those earning more than $75,000 and more than $100,000 have indexes of 113 and 117.
  • Those with liquid assets of $100,000 or more, $250,000 or more, index at 126 and 135.
  • Those who traded stocks/bonds/securities during the past year index at 125.
  • More than 74 percent of the front page reader group says they voted during the past year in a local, state or national election.
© 2006 MediaPost Communications. "Research Brief"

Events Calendar

Kentucky Press Association Newspaper Association Managers Annual Convention
August 1–6, 2006
Hyatt Regency, Louisville, KY

West Virginia Press Association Annual Convention & Membership Meeting
August 3–5, 2006
Stonewall Resort, Roanoke, WV

SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference
August 24–27, 2006
Hyatt Regency Chicago, Chicagol IL

Suburban Newsp. of America 2006 Fall Publishers & Ad Directors Conf.
September 12–15, 2066
The Adolphus, Dallas, TX

140th Annual Missouri Press Association Convention & Trade Show
September 14–16, 2006
Lodge of Four Seasons, Lake Ozark, MO

Independent Free Papers of America
September 19–23, 2006
Hershey Hotel, Hershey, PA

Online Media, Marketing & Advertising Conference and Expo-New York City
September 25–27, 2006
NY Marriott Marquis, New York, NY

INMA North American Smart Newspapers Marketing Conference
October 5–6, 2006
The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA

Midwest Free Community Newspapers Fall Conference
October 13–14, 2006
Crowne Plaza, Cedar Rapids, IA

Inter American Press Association 62nd General Assembly
October 29–30, 2006
Mexico City, Mexico

If you have an event that you would like to announce, please send your information to

Guide to Your Audit: Paid Racks and Dealers (Single Copy Sales)

Verified defines Rack sales as single copies of a publication sold through coin-operated newspaper racks or other such means. Rack copies are sold directly to individual readers at retail price. The publisher should receive 100% of the revenue for these sales.

For the audit, you will need draw sheets that document drops and returns (unsold copies) for every rack for every issue. Revenue collection, bank deposit slips, and/or proof of deposit of rack revenues are needed. It is helpful to keep rack deposits separate from your other types of deposits (such as advertising, subscription, etc.). If copies are sold directly to readers from your office, these copies should also be reported as rack sales, and revenue should be tracked and deposited.

Historically, if complete and accurate records (as described above) are maintained, auditors permit a theft allowance. This covers short revenue due to unpaid copies. Theft allowance is a maximum of 25%.

Verified defines Dealer sales as single copies sold at wholesale price to a dealer for resale to readers. Dealers include newsstands, stores, hawkers, and coin-operated racks operated by someone other than the publication itself. The wholesale price charged to dealers may not be less than 25% of the stated single-copy price. A system must be in place to allow dealers to receive credit for unsold copies.

For the audit, you will need to maintain dealer draw sheets that document drops and returns for every dealer for every issue. Dealer returns should be tracked and credited back. Dealers must be invoiced for copies sold and credited for unsold copies. Proof of dealer payments of these invoices (copies of cancelled checks, bank statements, credit card statements, etc.) is required. No allowance for theft is permitted. Dealer invoices cannot be more than 90 days in arrears.

Copies sold to a third party for distribution, and for which there are no returns, do not meet Verified's definition of Rack or Dealer sales. These copies are properly classified as 3rd-Party Sales.

Net rack and dealer sales (drops less unsold copies) are classified as Qualified Circulation. Tracking rack and dealer distribution is a requirement of your audit. It helps you to reduce costs and waste by only distributing what you need, where you need it.

If you have any questions, please contact Verified at 415-461-6006.

Please send comments and story ideas to or contact us at:

Verified Audit Circulation
900 Larkspur Landing Circle, Suite 295
Larkspur, CA 94939-1758
Phone: (415) 461-6006
Fax: (415) 461-6007

© 2006 Verified Audit Circulation.