American Newspaper Expense Benchmarks

Te Inland Press association in the United States and the International Newspaper Financial Executives (INFE) survey American newspapers about staffing levels, expenses, etc. Here are their ‘Rules of Thumb’ arising from the 2004 surveys:

    Percentage of page space devoted to news: 50 percent.
    Newsroom staffing: 1.1 to 1.2 full-time employees per thousand of weekday circulation.
    Newsroom expenses attributable to salaries: 76 to 80 percent.
    Newsroom expenses as percentage of overall expenses: 12 to 13 percent.

    Composing hours per page: 1.5 to 2.0
    Pressroom (and platemaking) hours per page: 2.3

    Circulation profit: 46 percent.

    Local advertising revenue: 52 percent of total advertising revenues.
    Classified ad revenues: 35 percent of total advertising revenues.
    Advertising expenses as percentage of overall expenses: 10 to 12 percent
    Advertising expenses as percentage of overall revenues: 8 to 10 percent

    Total production expenses as percentage of overall expenses: 12 to 14 percent.
    Total production expenses as percentage of overall revenues: 10 to 12 percent

    Total newspaper staffing: 5.3 full-time employees per 1,000 weekday circulation.

Calculation of similar benchmarks for online newspapers will be interesting.

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