NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- It's official: The Wall Street Journal has overtaken USA Today for the title of biggest paper in the U.S.
The Wall Street Journal told Advertising Age today that its new report with the Audit Bureau of Circulations will show average paid circulation of 2.02 million copies over the six months ending in September, up from 2.01 million in the period a year earlier.
That will handily topple the longtime circulation champion USA Today, which told Editor & Publisher last week that it's reporting average paid circulation of 1.88 million, down from nearly 2.3 million as a cover-price hike and declining hotel occupancy took their toll.
The Journal has been within striking distance of USA Today, the No. 1 paper for nearly a decade, since last spring's results.
Plenty of details can be discussed here, as each paper will surely do in meetings with advertisers and agencies. USA Today and many advertisers want to talk about paid print circulation that excludes those electronic-only subscribers The Journal includes in its total, top-line paid circulation figure. The Journal, on the other hand, has previously questioned the value of the many USA Today copies that hotel guests receive at no extra cost but still count as "paid" under Audit Bureau of Circulations rules. And plenty of people are increasingly interested in the simple number of readers, whether they paid for it, read it in a doctor's office or found it on the subway.
More details on paid circulation will be available on Oct. 26, when the Audit Bureau of Circulations publishes its roundup of newspaper industry circulation reports.