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Outsell: Newspaper circulation will continue to plunge

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Burlingame, Calif.—Research firm Outsell predicts continued declines in U.S. newspapers' print circulation. In its third annual "News Users'" report, Outsell forecasts a 3.5% annual drop over the next three years in both daily and Sunday circulations that will lead to just 43 million Sunday newspaper readers in 2012, compared with more than 62 million in the early 1990s.

Outsell said digital sources and aggregators such as Google and Yahoo have contributed to the decline. For breaking news, 57% of news users turn to digital sources, up from 33% a few years ago.

"Though Google is driving some traffic to newspapers, it's also taking a significant share away. A full 44% of visitors to Google News scan headlines without accessing newspapers' individual sites," Outsell analyst Ken Doctor said in a statement. Three in four survey respondents said they would turn to a different source for local online news if their newspapers required a paid online subscription. Outsell surveyed 2,787 U.S. news consumers for the report.

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