SNH audit finds growing readership

Published 12:04 am Sunday, March 30, 2014

More people are reading the Suffolk News-Herald than ever in its 141-year history, according to new independent market research.

The Circulation Verification Council, which audits the distribution and readership of thousands of publications in North America, reports that 51.5 percent of Suffolk adults regularly read the print edition of the News-Herald.

Of that number:

Email newsletter signup

■ 77.7 percent say they frequently purchase products or services from advertisements seen in the News-Herald.

■ 64 percent are between the ages of 25 and 54.

■ 77 percent have an annual household income above $50,000

■ 72 percent attended college or graduated from college.

The percentage of Suffolk adults reading the News-Herald is 15 percent higher than in 2010 and has tripled since 2000, when current owner Suffolk Publications LLC, an affiliate of Boone Newspapers Inc., purchased the newspaper from Richmond-based Media General.

“In an era when many newspapers are losing readership, we are pleased that ours is growing,” Publisher and President Steve Stewart said. “It’s good to see the Circulation Verification Council market research and circulation audit confirm what our internal numbers have shown. Our newspaper is now unquestionably the most widely consumed source of news and advertising information by the people of Suffolk.”

The Virginian-Pilot reports on its website that 42 percent of Suffolk adults read the Suffolk Sun, which is published twice a week as an insert in the Pilot.

The CVC reports that the News-Herald’s average net distribution is 10,812 copies daily and 11,420 on Sundays, and each copy of the newspaper is read by an average of 2.45 people. Net distribution is calculated by subtracting returned newsstand and store copies from the total number printed and distributed.

The CVC “verifies printing, distribution and circulation claims against support documents including but not limited to printing statements, mail receipts, carrier manifests, delivery area maps, distribution lists, subscriber lists and financial records,” according to the organization’s website. “CVC’s audit process also includes auditors’ random, unannounced visits to the publication’s market to randomly check circulation, rack and retail distribution, hotel and school distribution, and competition, etc.”

The CVC also conducted a telephone survey of more than 600 Suffolk adults to “determine reader demographics and purchase intentions vital to advertising purchase decisions.” The survey had a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.