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Reality Check for Newspaper Publishers, Readers are Going Online

Reality Check for Newspaper Publishers, Readers are Going Online

Ok, that title may be a bit oversweeping. But then what better way could you describe the declining state of newspaper circulation as reported by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, but to attribute it to readers’  changing reading habits?

The Audit Bureau of Circulations’s figures cover a six month period ending September 2009. And their figures are showing that average newspaper circulation declined by 10.6% in the six months period. This decline is said to be the lowest for the newspaper industry to date.

Here are some numbers showing the decline in circulation of some major dailies (includes M-F circulation only)

  • USA Today – 11%
  • LA Times – 11%
  • NYT – 7.2%
  • Washington Post – 6.4%
  • Chicago Tribune – 9.7%
  • San Francisco Chronicle – 25.8%
  • Boston Globe – 18.4%
  • Miami Herald – 23%
  • Star Tribune – 5.5%
  • Baltimore Sun – 14.7%

Only the current number one newspaper experienced a growth during the six month period, the WSJ a slight 0.6% increase in circulation.

So what is causing this down trend in the daily circulation of newspapers? There are many factors actually.  One primary reason was of course the recent recession that struck the country. This forced publishers to reduce the circulation of its newspapers as sample copy in hotels and other sponsored copies. Delivery cost has also affected the circulation of newspapers.

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What about digital/online newspapers?  The study didn’t say whether this is affecting the circulation of newspapers. But I’m inclined to believe that the digital era has definitely some effects on newspaper circulation.

This leads me to ask – when was the last time you read a newspaper to know the latest news? I can’t even remember when I stopped reading printed newspapers in favor of online newspapers.

View Comment (1)
  • Newspapers should be using the best asset they have to build online traffic, that is their content, which can be optimized to rank in the search engine results, thereby increasing page impressions and potential ad revenue.

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