DIG THAT TIMES OUT OF THE TRASH: From Los Angeles to New York, President-elect Barack Obama’s win over John McCain provided a much-needed boost to the newspaper business Wednesday, with companies printing thousands more editions than usual and still selling out on the newsstand in a matter of hours. Over at The New York Times building on Manhattan’s Eighth Avenue, there were lines around the building to buy copies. On an average day, 220,000 copies are sold on newsstands but Wednesday, anticipating there would be higher demand, 400,000 copies were printed and, later in the afternoon, there was another press run of 75,000 more copies.
Compared with the day after the last presidential election in 2004, when there was an increase in sales of around 50,000 copies, a spokeswoman said she expects Wednesday’s final count to “significantly surpass those sales.” She added the Times is receiving inquiries to buy the paper around the world and there are plans to increase newsstand sales today, although not as much as Wednesday. And it appears demand isn’t only at the newsstand: Copies of Wednesday’s edition are already on eBay, with some bids as high as $100.
The Washington Post printed 30 percent more single copies than normal and all copies sold out within a few hours. In addition, 350,000 copies of a commemorative edition were printed and arrived Wednesday afternoon at major retail outlets. Each edition costs $1.50 (the daily paper costs 50 cents). And, Tribune Co. papers also increased their press runs across the country, in some markets by as much as 10 to 100 percent. The Los Angeles Times expected to sell 100,000 more copies than a typical Wednesday and Obama’s hometown paper, the Chicago Tribune, increased its press run with an additional 200,000 copies distributed Wednesday. “This kind of demand for our newspapers is unlike anything we’ve experienced in recent history,” said Randy Michaels, chief operating officer at Tribune.
The Wall Street Journal and New York Post were a little less effusive regarding their success on the newsstand. A spokesman at the Journal said: “We are seeing very high sell-through at newsstands and we have had to restock several locations in major markets,” while a spokeswoman at the Post added, “We had a great sale. We are delighted.”
The final days of the election have also resulted in record traffic to newspaper’s Web sites. Internal numbers are showing a record day, trafficwise, at nytimes.com on Tuesday. There were 55.1 million page views, shattering the previous record by 29 percent on Sept. 29, when the House of Representatives rejected the financial bailout. The Washington Post broke its single-day record of 15.2 million for page views, which occurred on Nov. 8, 2006, for the 2006 mid-term elections, reaching upward of 16-million page views as of press time. And, over at Tribune, Michaels said the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times sites both had a record-breaking number of page views. — Amy Wicks