Monday, April 27, 2009

Newspaper Circulation Crumbles

Sure, people are cutting back on non-essential purposes during a bad economy, but I suspect even if were were enjoying a robust economy many of these newspapers would still be losing readers.

But this is as bad as it gets. Check that. It'll probably get worse.
The Audit Bureau of Circulations released this morning the spring figures for the six months ending March 31, 2009, showing that the largest metros continue to shed daily and Sunday circulation -- now at a record rate.

According to ABC, for 395 newspapers reporting this spring, daily circulation fell 7% to 34,439,713 copies, compared with the same March period in 2008. On Sunday, for 557 newspapers, circulation was down 5.3% to 42,082,707. These averages do not include 84 newspapers with circulations below 50,000 due to a change in publishing frequency.

The percent comparisons are for the same period ending in March 2008. (All daily averages are for Monday through Friday.)

Daily circulation at The New York Times dropped 3.5% to 1,039,031. The Times' Sunday circ was down 1.7% to 1,451,233.

The Washington Post lost 1.6% of its daily circ to 665,383 and 2.3% to 868,965.

USA Today, as reported earlier this month, lost 7.4% of its daily circulation to 2,113,725 due to a decline in hotel copies.

Daily circulation at The Wall Street Journal was up a fraction 0.6% to 2,082,189, but this was certainly the exception, not the rule.

Daily circulation at The Boston Globe skidded 13.6% to 302,638 copies. Sunday decreased 11.2% to 466,665.

New York's Daily News was off 14%, but rival New York Post lost even more, at minus 20%. The Star-Ledger of Newark shed over 16%. Newsday, by comparison, lost 3%*.

Daily circulation at The Miami Herald fell 15.8% to 202,122. Sunday is down 13.1% to 270,166.

San Francisco Chronicle shed 15.7% of daily copies to 312,118. Sunday fell 16.5% to 312,118.

Tribune Co. papers rolled out highly touted redesigns in this period, but lost readers. The Chicago Tribune lost 7.4% of its daily circulation to 501,202 and 4.5% on Sunday to 858,256 copies. Circulation plunged at the Los Angeles Times at 6.5% of its daily circulation (Monday through Friday) to 723,181 copies. Sunday was down 7.4% to 1,019,388.

The Philadelphia Inquirer lost 13.7% of its daily circulation to 288,298. Sunday was hit just as hard, down 12% to 550,400. Daily circulation at its sister publication the Daily News fell 7.6% to 99,103. (At the end of March the Inquirer started distributing the Daily News within its pages. The change does not affect the circulation for this period.)

Daily circulation at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution plummeted almost 20% to 261,828. Sunday decreased 7% to 462,011.
The top 25 in circulation are listed here.

These plummeting figures can't be strictly blamed on newspapers losing readers due to a liberal slant, especially when the one paper you could say that has a conservative op-ed slant, the New York Post, dropped 20%. Since the Post is owned by News Corp. (as is the WSJ), I'd expect them to weather this. However, some of these newspapers are hemorrhaging so may readers and losing ad revenue at record rates they just may not survive with a print model. Moving strictly online is already being done with some large dailies and that may be the only avenue of survival at this point.

Linked at Instapundit. Thanks!

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