Welcome halt to newspapers’ circ slide
Weekdays down 0.2 percent and Sundays up 0.6 percent
October 31, 2012
The long slide in circulation by the country’s daily newspapers seems to be over.
The addition of digital editions to the Audit Bureau of Circulations’ biannual reports has given a boost to the long-flagging industry, drastically curbing the steep declines that had been seen over the past decade as readers abandon print for digital.
During the six-month period ended Sept. 30, weekday circulation for the 613 newspapers measured by the ABC was essentially flat, falling by 0.2 percent.
And Sunday circulation was actually up among the 528 newspapers measured, by 0.6 percent.
This marks the second straight reporting period without significant declines, following a major overhaul in 2011 in how circulation is reported, making comparisons to previous years very difficult.
Most notably the ABC incorporated digital editions into its circ data, which includes tablet or smartphone apps, PDF replicas, metered or restricted-access websites, or e-reader editions.
Digital editions now account for 15.3 percent of all newspaper circulation, up from 9.8 percent at this time last year.
And some papers saw huge boosts from digital.
The New York Times, for example, saw total weekday circulation soar by 40.3 percent, with all of that driven by digital subscriptions. Print subscriptions were actually down by almost 7 percent.
The Times now has more digital subscribers on weekdays, 896,352, than it does print, 717,513.
Though it was the only top-25 newspaper to achieve that distinction, digital is very clearly gaining. Half of the top 20 newspapers now have at least 80,000 digital subscribers.
And eight papers across the country have 100,000 digital subscribers or more.
The biggest weekday circulation decline among the top 25 came at the Houston Chronicle, down 11.9 percent to 325,814.
The biggest gain came at the Newark Star-Ledger, up 48.1 percent to 311,904, 41 percent of which is digital.
The Washington Post, which does not have a metered web site and has only 23,323 digital subscribers on Sundays, saw the biggest Sunday circ dip for a top-25 paper, down 20.2 percent, to 674,751.
The Dallas Morning News, up 87 percent, had the biggest Sunday gains, with nearly half its 700,649 circulation coming from branded editions, defined as commuter, community, alternative-language or Sunday-Select-type newspapers.
Tags: abc, audit bureau of circulations, circ, circulation, circulation declines, circulation gains, digital editions, new york times, new york times digital, newspaper, newspaper circulation, newspapers, papers, print
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