Audit Bureau of Circulations: 'WSJ' circulation surges

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Thanks to a big boost from its online-only subscribers, Dow Jones & Co.'s Wall Street Journal notched a 16.1% circulation increase for the six months ending Sept. 30. The increase vaulted the nation's largest business daily over the 2 million mark, an altitude currently achieved only by Gannett's USA Today.

The increase comes with some caveats, as the Journal's 290,412 online subscribers-who in this case do not subscribe to the print Journal-paid a minimum of $79 for their subscriptions, or at least 25% of the Journal's print subscription cost. A Dow Jones spokeswoman said that the total number of online-only subscribers to the Journal was around 400,000, but that group rates meant not all qualified for the category in which the 290,412 were counted. Without its online boost, the Journal would have posted a net gain of just 43 daily copies from its previous performance.

Save for the Journal and a few other atypically large circulation successes or shortfalls, the rest of the 800-plus daily U.S. newspapers whose numbers are measured by Audit Bureau of Circulations were predominately flat. For the six months ending Sept. 30, the Newspaper Association of America said its calculations showed the average newspaper posted an 0.2% daily circulation gain, but fell 0.4% for Sunday circulation.

Once again, the brash News Corp. tabloid New York Post racked up a sizable gain, with daily circulation spiking 10% to 652,426. That gain allowed it to overtake Tribune Co.'s Chicago Tribune as the seventh-largest daily. Its New York tabloid rival, The Daily News, saw circulation increase 2.1%, to 729,124.

The nation's other biggest dailies recorded gains or losses minuscule enough to earn the tag "flat." Other than the Journal, Post and Daily News, among the top 10 newspapers the biggest gainer was USA Today, with a 0.9% daily gain, and the biggest loser was the Washington Post Co.'s Washington Post, which saw its numbers fall 1.9%.

Among the other top 100 players, the biggest gain posted by a single daily that did not change its publishing schedule came from Florida's Daytona Beach News-Journal, which saw daily circulation rise 7.5% and Sunday circulation rise 5.2%.

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