Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Newspaper Circulation for March 2011

The Audit Bureau of Circulations report is out for March, 2011. Editor & Publisher* lists the top 25 along with the ABC warning that since print and digital circulation numbers have been merged (thus raising the average circulation number), direct comparisons with past totals should be avoided.
By total average circulation

1. Wall Street Journal; 2,117,796
2. USA Today; 1,829,099
3. New York Times; 916,911
4. Los Angeles Times; 605,243
5. San Jose Mercury News; 577,665 (including 370,126 from branded editions)
6. Washington Post; 550,821
7. New York Daily News; 530,924
8. New York Post; 522,874
9. Chicago Tribune; 437,205
10. Chicago Sun-Times; 419,409 (168,299)
11. Dallas Morning News; 404,951 (153,441)
12. Houston Chronicle; 364,724 (40,726)
13. Philadephia Inquirer; 343,710 (71,128)
14. Arizona Republic; 337,170
15. Denver Post; 324,970
16. Newsday; 298,759
17. Star Tribune; 296,605
18. St. Petersburg Times; 292,441 (17,249)
19. Oregonian; 260,248
20. Cleveland Plain Dealer; 254,372
21. Seattle Times; 253,742
22. Detroit Free Press; 246,169
23. San Francisco Chronicle; 235,350
24. Newark Star Ledger; 229,255
25. Boston Globe; 219,214
Even though Audit Bureau of Circulations warns against making comparisons, some can be made.

The Oregonian's 6 month total (now including e-circulation) went up 8.86% from print circulation alone in September, 2010 (from 239,071 to 260,248).

However, the total from a year ago is down at least 1.27% (assuming no digital circulation in March, 2010) from 263,600 in print circulation alone to the current 260,248 in combined print and digital circulation.

Also from Editor & Publisher the top 25 Newspaper Sunday Circulation figures:
By total average circulation

1. New York Times; 1,339,462
2. Los Angeles Times; 948,889
3. Washington Post; 852,861 (including 101,448 from branded editions)
4. Chicago Tribune; 780,601
5. San Jose Mercury News; 636,999 (400,129)
6. Detroit Free Press; 614,226 (133,883)
7. Houston Chronicle; 587,984 (75,842)
8. New York Daily News; 584,658
9. Denver Post; 519,838 (36,641)
10. Star Tribune; 516,134 (20,095)
11. Arizona Republic; 511,764
12. Philadelphia Inquirer; 488,287
13. St. Petersburg Times; 429,048
14. Chicago Sun-Times; 421,453 (170,545)
15. Cleveland Plain Dealer; 403,001 (60,318)
16. Atlanta Journal-Constitution; 391,815
17. Dallas Morning News; 375,100 (12,131)
18. Newsday; 362,221
19. St. Louis Post-Dispatch; 360,450
20. Boston Globe; 356,632
21. New York Post; 355,784
22. Seattle Times; 346,991
23. Baltimore Sun; 343,552
24. Newark Star-Ledger; 337,416
25. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; 333,999

*Editor & Publisher usually only leaves its stories up for a short period of time. This information is also published by Jim Romenesko.
UPDATE: Rick Edmonds explains some of the new rules:
"Branded editions” are a new category being measured. These are versions of the paper, usually with a different nameplate and some distinct content. Several news organizations have embraced this way of selling their circulation story to advertisers, and it does result in a substantially higher total."
. . .
"Digital editions receive new treatment in several ways. Beginning with this report, ABC will differentiate “replica” digital editions, those that reproduce the print paper exactly, including ads, from “non-replica” editions like those sold on e-readers.

"The rules, in most instances, require that readers pay something for any digital edition counted, or, in the case of print subscribers, something extra. That raises the possibility that a single subscriber could be counted twice, three or four times if paying for access on several different devices.

"The pay-something rule (due for further modification in the period starting October 2011) presents publishers with a choice. They may still choose to grant print subscribers all-access to digital editions for free, as The New York Times and others are doing. But in that case, digital editions will count toward the average circulation totals only if users register and access them a given number of times per month.

"There are a couple of potentially controversial elements of the new system.

"So-called 'Sunday Select' and other programs distributing circulars to targeted non-subscribers have been widely adopted over the last several years and are popular with advertisers. Sometimes the ads come with a very condensed news report, sometimes not.

"But under the new ABC rules, even packets with no news content can count toward the verified total if those receiving the product have requested it. In other words, some circulation now will be an 'edition' with only ads.

"Another rule, actually in effect for 18 months now, allows papers to count as paid, copies for which someone has paid as little as a penny. In theory, this could lead papers to pad their numbers with many deeply discounted offers.

"However, that hasn’t happened and probably won’t. During the long gestation period for the rules, circulation came to be valued as a revenue source, while ad revenues were plummeting. Most papers have cut back on distribution to remote areas or putting copies in the hands of people only marginally interested. Such waste circulation is expensive to serve and of little value to advertisers."

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