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Facebook has more users than the nation's 1,300 newspapers combined

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Facebook,Media,Newspapers,Advertising,Social Media

Despite the news industry's move to go all-in on digital platforms, Facebook attracts more visits than the country's 1,300 newspapers and the social network's users stay connected for nearly 30 minutes, nearly 10-times longer than they do on a news site, according to a new analysis.

According to the Newspaper Association of America, papers received 161 million “unique” visits in March, “a number equal to two-thirds of American adults,” said analyst Alan D. Mutter, who blogs about the business.

But, he added, Facebook attracts 166.5 million uniques per month and “while the typical visitor spends 1.1 minute at a newspaper site, the average dwell time at Facebook, the super-sticky social network, is nearly half an hour.” Visits and time spent connected are key factors in advertising and advertising rates.

The analysis suggests that while there is a big market for digital users, newspapers haven't figured out how to out-do, or even compete, with social networking sites like Facebook.

And that can be considered the good news in Mutter's latest post on his site, "Reflections of a Newsosaur."

Using information from the industry, he calculated the rest of the industry carnage over the last decade:

-- Advertising sales are down 55 percent. Classified ads have crashed 74 percent.

-- Digital ad sales are up, but the share that the news business owns has dropped from 16.4 percent in 2003 to just 7.9 percent in 2013.

— Print circulation is down 47 percent. Mutter concluded that only one quarter of the nation's 115.2 million homes get a weekday paper, and 30 percent the Sunday paper.

— Newsroom staffs have been cut 31 percent, worse for Washington staffs.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.