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Newspapers' Circulation Declines Faster in Past Six Months

Only USA Today, Wall Street Journal Maintain Among Top 25

By Published on . 5

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The decline in newspapers' paid circulation is accelerating, according to new statistics today from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
USA Today, the country's biggest weekday paper, grew only 0.01%.
USA Today, the country's biggest weekday paper, grew only 0.01%.

Papers' average weekday paid circulation fell to 38.2 million copies across the six months ending 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.

No rest on Sundays
Sunday paid circulation fell 4.85% in today's report, a faster rate of decline than the 3.5% drop seen this time last year.

There were some gainers, to be sure, among the malaise. The Wisconsin State Journal's paid weekday circulation increased 10.6% to 87,012, for example. The Trenton Times in New Jersey increased its paid weekday circulation by 5.3% to reach 53,303. Other small papers posted gains too.

But the big pillars 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%.

Top 25 all sink
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 L.A. 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%.
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