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Circulation figures confirm the future is online, it's local and it's in the long tail

Last year's full year circulation figures for Norwegian newspapers were out this week. They confirmed the previous year's trend of local and online papers outperforming nationals. 2006 was also a great year for niche newspapers. The big losers were the paper versions of the country's two biggest tabloids, VG and Dagbladet, and most Sunday newspapers.

However, both VG and Dagbladet turn over big profits online, and Dagbladet's online readership surpasses its print readership, so, despite the dwindling print sales, the picture is not all gloomy.

The circulation figures seem to support David Montgomery's thinking about the potential value in local newspapers with a high subscription basis, and, even though Schibsted recorded a somewhat dramatic fall in print readership for VG, and a more modest reduction in how many picked up the print edition of Aftenposten, the company is benefiting hugely from its early and successful online investments.

Overall newspaper circulation was down 2,6 per cent, but Norway is still the world's second most newspaper reading country, after Japan (source: Norwegian Media Businesses' Association (MBL), statistics here, in Norwegian).


This, combined with your post above, might make for some interesting speculation about whether print and online media have different roles:

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