Contrary to reports celebrating an increase in newspaper circulation in the latest six-month reporting period, the weekday sales of the print editions at the nation’s 25 largest dailies actually fell by an average of 7.3%.
Not a single one of the nation’s 25 largest newspapers gained weekday print circulation in the reporting period that ended in March.
As illustrated below, the average weekday circulation declines ranged from a modest -0.4% at the San Diego Union-Tribune to -16.0% at the New York Daily News.
Other publications shedding print circulation at double-digit rates include the New York Post (-15.5%), the Chicago Sun-Times (-12.1%), the Los Angeles Times (-12.0%) and the Denver Post (-10.9%).
The circulation statistics are from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, an industry-owned service organized to provide third-party verification of newspaper sales.
In reporting the circulation data for the six-month period ended in March, the ABC said average weekday circulation at 618 surveyed newspapers advanced by nearly 0.7%.
The ABC also published a list showing that the combined print and digital circulation of the 25 largest newspapers rose by an average 7.7% on weekdays. The list did not include year-to-year comparisons for print circulation, so I looked up the numbers on the ABC website and plugged them into a spreadsheet.
You can see how well newspapers are managing the digital transition by comparing the print circulation losses in the far right column of the table below with the combined print-plus-digital gains in the column immediately adjacent to it.
While publishers like the New York Times and Orange County Register seem to be making headway in shifting the emphasis of their business to digital products, fully 10 of the 25 biggest newspapers suffered year-to-year declines in not only in print readership but also in print-plus-digital circulation.
Correction: Owing to a data transcription error on my
part, the original version of this post overstated the circulation drop
at the Orange County Register. This article and the table have been
updated to reflect the correct information.