For the first time in 2020, the newspaper industry earned more money from circulation than advertising.
Yet like many of the other benchmarks noted this week by the Pew Research Center in the first of a series of reports on the state of the news media, that’s not necessarily good news.
Circulation revenue, from people buying digital or print subscriptions, reached $11.1 billion in 2020, Pew said. The newspaper industry reported $8.8 billion in ad revenue last year.
In 2006, in the early stages of the internet eating away at the industry, newspapers reported $49.3 billion in advertising revenue. Circulation revenue in 2006 was much the same as it was last year.
Pew’s estimate of weekday newspaper circulation, which is complicated by the move to digital and some different reporting sources, was 24.3 million last year. Twenty years ago, it was 57.8 million.
Newspaper newsroom employment stood at 74,410 in 2006, the last year that figure grew over the previous year. In 2020, there were 30,820 people in newsrooms.