USA Today memo: ‘Our strategy is working. …We are moving in the right direction’

USA Today publisher Larry Kramer tells his staff that while their paper’s print circulation continues to drop,images its “readership in total across all platforms is growing dramatically” and that when measuring digital audiences “we are ahead of the competition.”

He adds: “We have an audience of more than 50 million while NYT is under 48 million and Wall Street Journal is under 25 million. (And let it be noted that NYT includes the Boston Globe in these numbers while WSJ includes Marketwatch and AllThingsD, so we are even further ahead).”

The memo:

From: USA TODAY Publisher
Date: Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 3:30 PM
Subject: Managing our transition
To:

Dear Colleagues:

Circulation numbers have been in the news today and I wanted to share some thoughts on where we are. We understand that consumers’ news consumption habits have changed and we are changing with them. As expected, USA TODAY has seen another decrease in our print circulation numbers as reported by the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM), formerly the Audit Bureau of Circulation. The spokesperson for the AAM expressed to media himself that their report does not accurately reflect the full picture anymore. In fact, USA TODAY’s readership in total across all platforms is growing dramatically.

In regard to digital, our business model is different than our competitors. We are an advertising-driven business that continues to offer free content to our customers for broader access. And if you look at numbers that more accurately measure digital audiences, we are ahead of the competition. We have an audience of more than 50 million while NYT is under 48 million and Wall Street Journal is under 25 million. (And let it be noted that NYT includes the Boston Globe in these numbers while WSJ includes Marketwatch and AllThingsD, so we are even further ahead).

So the good news is that our strategy is working. We’ve seen increased traffic to our newly redesigned website and through our mobile offerings. USA TODAY now has two of the leading free news apps on iTunes and Kindle, frequently sitting in the number one spot. Our strategy continues to evolve and we’ll always look at new ways to grow the business in the digital space — as evidenced by our partnership with Hilton Worldwide via USA TODAY The Point. This type of paid partnership, which is gaining a lot of traction, allows all Hilton hotel customers to access our content through the hotels’ guest Internet portals.

The even better news is that these new platforms help our commitment to building a larger, more engaged audience. And, our continued laser-focus to build best in class products and content will keep them coming back. This, in turn, will enable us to see increased growth over the next several years.

So, although the numbers announced today are the legacy industry standard, we are continuing to break the mold. Our indicators are very positive and I am confident that we are moving in the right direction.

Best,

Larry

* New York Times passes USAT in circulation (gannettblog.blogspot.com)

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