Small Newspapers Show Signs of Growth, Increase in Revenue

By Andrew Gauthier 

While a major topic of conversation over the last year has been about the decline (death?) of newspapers, it appears that smaller papers are actually doing quite well and even showing increased revenue in areas such as classified sales–a sector once thought to be all but lost to online resources such as Craigslist.

A new study, published yesterday by the Inland Press, examines the operations of newspapers based on circulation size. According to the study, smaller papers, especially ones with 15,000 circulation or less, are in a much better position in terms of relative growth and revenue generation than their much larger counterparts. Some results of the Inland study…
10 papers with 15,000 circulation or less reported increasing their operating profit over the past five years. In the 15,001 to 25,000 category, eight papers increased their profit as did one daily in the 25,001 to 50,000 circulation category. All the papers with greater circulation posted shrinking profits over the same time frame.

And while Craigslist is often cited as the reason for the decline in newspapers classified revenues, the average classified sales for small papers have gone up, not down. For example, a daily in the West with less than 15,000 circulation, posted a 210.4 percent increase in classified revenue from 2004 to 2008. However, profits at this paper were down nearly 30 percent. More…