MV Times releases audited circulation data
The Martha's Vineyard Times' average net circulation of its print newspaper in the six towns of Martha's Vineyard during calendar 2006 was 14,990 weekly, according to results of an audit conducted by the Circulation Verification Council (CVC). And, during interviews conducted by CVC with a random sample of 313 Vineyarders, CVC found that 100 percent of those interviewed read or looked through the newspaper regularly.
The Times released the complete survey results this week (available here), and Times editor Doug Cabral said that the paper will make copies of the report available to advertisers and to readers at their request. This is the first year the paper has submitted to an independent, professional audit of its circulation, but Mr. Cabral said The Times will continue the practice annually, in part, he said, because CVC distributes audit information to national advertisers, including those that place web advertising.
In addition to its print circulation, The Times web site, mvtimes.com, records more than 73,000 weekly visitors and more than 300,000 page views weekly. All newspaper advertisers have their messages online as well as in print, because of The Times' weekly digital edition, an online facsimile of the print newspaper.
"We think this audit helps to tell our story to advertisers and readers," Mr. Cabral said this week. "It's a story of service and committed readership, of which we're very proud. The Times gives its advertisers guaranteed reach in the Vineyard market, and we wanted to be able to point to independently verified numbers as we tell this story. We believe The Times is a very good deal for advertisers and readers."
The Times also announced selected rate increases this week, including a rise in the newsstand price from 50 to 75 cents, increases in subscription prices, and increases in some display advertising rates of between 5.5 and 7.7 percent. Mr. Cabral said increased postage costs - the bulk of The Times print edition is distributed by mail - rising newsprint costs, and increasing health insurance premiums for employees played a part in the decision to increase rates.
"Our newsstand price has lagged behind the competition's for two years now, and our advertising rates don't reflect the broad reach of Times circulation and the established commitment of Times readers to our publication," Mr. Cabral said. "No other publication circulated in our readership market matches our performance."
In other results from the CVC survey, CVC interviewers found that 74.8 percent of Vineyarders said they frequently purchase products or services from ads seen in The Times. Forty-seven percent of those surveyed said they kept the newspaper around the house for one or two days. Twenty-nine percent said they kept their copy of the paper in the house for one week or more.
Sixty-seven percent of Vineyarders reported annual household incomes of $50,000 or more, including 24 percent with household incomes of more than $100,000.
Ninety-five percent of Islanders reading The Times each week had graduated from high school or college or both. Eighty-four percent were over 35 years of age.
And, what do these MV Times readers plan to spend their money on in the next 12 months? In order of preference: dining and entertainment, lawn and garden equipment and supplies, home improvement and supplies, home furnishings, auto-related repairs and equipment, athletic and sports equipment, and vacations. Only seven percent planned to buy Vineyard real estate.
The auditors examined printing bills and postal receipts, along with the newspaper's in-house circulation records. In addition, auditors from the Circulation Verification Council interviewed a random sample of 328 Island residents to identify the number of residents who receive the publication on a regular basis and to identify the number of residents who read or look through the publication. The interviews took place throughout the audit period between the hours of 5:30 pm-8:30 pm and 10:00 am-2:00 pm. All respondents identified themselves as 18 or older.
The CVC interviews found that 322 of 328 households or 98.2 percent reported that they received The Times on a regular basis. The interviews also revealed that 252 out of 322, or 78.3 percent, indicate they regularly read or look through The Times.
Circulation Verification Council representatives interviewed and visited newsstands and single-copy sales locations chosen randomly from the publication route lists. The purpose was to identify the number of locations that confirm they receive the publication on a regular basis, and further verify the number of publications distributed at the beginning of the edition cycle, and the number of editions left unclaimed by readers at the end of the edition cycle.
The CVC interviewers found that 100 percent of reported single copy sales locations received Martha's Vineyard Times on a regular basis and that fewer than 20 percent of Times' single copy distributed editions are returned to the publisher unclaimed after the edition cycle.
The Circulation Verification Council interviewed 313 readers on the Vineyard to identify the number of residents who have read at least two of the last four issues of the publication and to gather readership study information useful for advertising purchase decisions. Interviews were conducted solely with pre-designated respondents, and no substitutions were permitted. In all cases, at least six attempts were made to contact all pre-designated
respondents. The Circulation Verification Council estimates that all the information in this survey has a maximum error margin of +/-2.5 at the 95 percent confidence level. The average number of readers per copy through 2006 was estimated at 2.25.