The decline in newspapers' paid circulation is accelerating, according to new statistics released late last month from the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Papers' average weekday paid circulation fell to 38.2 million copies for the six months ended Sept. 30, down 4.64% from the equivalent period a year earlier. That's a faster fall than was seen this time last year, when the audit bureau reported just a 2.6% decline.
Sunday paid circulation fell 4.85% in the latest report, a faster rate of decline than the 3.5% drop seen a year earlier.
There were some gainers among the losses. The Wisconsin State Journal's paid weekday circulation increased 10.6% to 87,012, for example. Other small papers posted gains, too.
But the high fliers of the industry continued to lose altitude. Only USA Today, again the country's biggest weekday paper, and The Wall Street Journal, holding the No. 2 slot, reported increases—and each grew only 0.01%.
The New York Times and the remainder of the top 25 weekday papers all sank. Paid weekday circulation fell 3.6% at the Times, 5.2% at the Los Angeles Times, 7.2% at the Daily News in New York, 6.3% at the New York Post, 1.9% at the Washington Post, 7.8% at the Chicago Tribune and 11.7% at the Houston Chronicle. Some of those papers raised newsstand prices in the period being reported.
All but two of the top 25 Sunday papers reported lower paid circulations. The Sunday New York Times fell 4.1%, the Los Angeles Times sank 5.1%, The Washington Post slipped 3.2%, the Chicago Tribune dropped 5.8% and the New York Daily News declined 7.2%. — Nat Ives
Nat Ives is a reporter for Advertising Age, a BtoB sibling publication.