Electronic subscriptions now make up more than 10 percent of the total number of paid subscriptions to The Kansas City Star.
A “consolidated media report” (CMR) generated by the Audit Bureau of Circulations shows that slightly more than 10 percent of Sunday subscriptions are of the electronic variety.
The proportion is higher during Monday-Friday, when about 13 percent of subscribers take the electronic rather than the printed edition.
The advertised price of an electronic subscription is $4.95 a month, which is about one-third the cost of the print-subscription rate.
As of March 31, the total number of Sunday subscribers was 314,449, with 31,755 of those being electronic. The number of print-edition subscriptions was 282,694.
Print-edition subscriptions to the Sunday Star have fallen by more than 100,000 since 2004, when Sunday circulation was 388,425.
During Monday-Friday, print-edition subscriptions are below 200,000 every day except Friday.
In the late 1990s, weekday subscriptions to the printed edition stood at about 250,000, and The Star waged a marketing campaign aimed at getting to “300,000 by 2000.” The goal (again, referring to weekday circulation) was never reached.
On its Web site, kansascity.com, The Star advertises “E-Star” as “a clickable replica of our newspaper.”
“The electronic edition contains all the news, photos, ads, box scores, and special sections in the printed The Kansas City Star,” the company says.
In 2008, the Audit Bureau of Circulations, an industry-funded group that is paid by publishers to audit their circulation, approved the testing and creation of a consolidated media report for member newspapers. The Star has participated in the consolidated reports from early on.
ABC says: “The report allows newspapers to provide advertisers with a comprehensive view of the newspapers ‘total media footprint’ across multiple products and channels by reporting total gross distribution data.”
While helping newspaper companies market themselves to advertisers, consolidated reports also serve another purpose: They make print-circulation losses less conspicuous than they were before the days of the “CMR.”