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The Sunday Denver Post's Penetration is Slipping

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In print-journalism parlance, "penetration" isn't as nasty as it sounds. Rather, it applies to the number of households reached by a particular newspaper -- and the folks at the Denver Newspaper Agency, which oversees the business operations at the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News, have frequently crowed that their penetration rate as among the highest in the country.

According to an August 19 article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, this remains true. The piece lists the top ten Sunday newspapers in the U.S. by the percentage of adults who read them, as calculated by Scarborough Research, which conducts surveys for the industry. While the Journal Sentinel topped the roster at 70 percent, the Sunday Denver Post placed a respectable seventh, with 56.6 percent.

That's not the whole story, though. In a June 2004 edition of the Message, then-DNA head Kirk MacDonald boasted that the Sunday Post's penetration rate was 64 percent. Hence, penetration for the agency's signature issue has fallen over 7 percent in just three years -- a substantial slide.

No wonder the Post and the Rocky have been cutting costs so energetically of late: They're not penetrating like they used to. -- Michael Roberts

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