BY ERIC KILLELEA
American newspaper circulation continues to plummet. That is an established fact from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, whose report of the six-month period, ended on 31 March, shows that the average weekday circulation fell 8.7 percent, that Sunday circulation fell 6.5 percent.
The Huffington Post reports, "That's a slight improvement from April through September of last year, when average weekday circulation dropped 10.6 percent from a year earlier and Sunday circulation fell 7.5 percent."
While a slight improvement, both small and major newspapers are experiencing circulation loss. "Of the 21 big metros whose circulations could be directly compared to the year-ago period fully," reports Editors&Publishers, "10 fell by double-digit percentages."
The New York Times reports that its circulation dropped 5.1 percent on Sunday, to 1.4 million copies, and 8.5 percent on weekdays, to 950,000; the Los Angeles Time declined 7.6 percent on Sunday and 14.7 percent during the week; and The Chicago Tribune fell 7.5 percent on Sunday and 9.8 percent during the week.
The Top 25 List by Daily Circulation, created by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, posted here on Editors&Publishers.com, ranks the Newark Star-Ledger No. 25 in the country. The newspaper's circulation has decreased in daily circulation by 17.79 percent to 236,017.
The Wall Street Journal is the only newspaper in the Top 25 to rise in weekly circulation, beating out USA Today for the No. 1 spot. Its circulation gain was 0.5 percent to 2.09 million (no Sunday circulation). The New York Times reports that "The Journal's numbers were helped by the 414,000 paid subscribers to its electronic editions including its Web site, which are included in the figures." Few newspapers charge for their Web sites and their online readership is not included in the circulation bureau's calculation. Paid subscriptions to their other electronic editions, like on the Kindle, are included.
"In a way, the new circulation figures mirror the industry's advertising trends," reports The Huffington Post. "There are many reasons for the declines in newspaper circulation including the rise of free news on the Web. Publishers also have sought to offset losses in advertising revenue by raising newsstand and subscription prices."
"Although audited circulation data at a local level remains important to certain types of advertisers — particularly insert advertisers — bottom-line paid circulation data in an aggregated industry level does not tell the whole story about the vitality of the newspaper industry," Newspaper Association of America CEO John Sturm said in a statement.
Sturm told The Huffington Post that recent studies by Scarborough Research and Nielsen Online showing nearly 100 million adults still read a printed newspaper every day and that newspaper Web sites averaged more than 74 million unique visitors a month during the first quarter.