Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Oregonian Circulation Falls 5.8%

The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) report for September 30, 2012  brings more bad news for the Oregonian.  With the exception of a slight gain (1.55%) in circulation in September, 2011, the Oregonian has now seen a drop in circulation in every report since March of 2005.  This year the 228,599 circulation is a decline of 5.8% from a year ago.  This compares with a mild 0.2% drop in circulation among the 613 dailies ABC tracks.

The Oregonian's decrease is despite marketing efforts that have included a Tuesday/Sunday delivery package for only $19.99 a year offered last March.

Such efforts have not staunched losses which have amounted to a drop of 1/3rd in the Oregonian's circulation in ten years (342,789 in September 2002) and 1/4th in the last five years (309,467 in September 2007).

The New York Times (NYT), which saw a 40% increase in circulation in the last year, has actually lost print circulation. (down from 770,586 in September 2011 to 717,513 in 2012)  However, digital circulation rocketed from 380,003 in 2011 to 896,352 this year.

In terms of digital circulation rate, NYT's growth rate has slowed in the last six months to 11% while the Wall Street Journal's (WSJ) digital circulation rate has grown almost 44% since March.  In September 2011 NYT was playing catch up to WSJ's digital circulation dominance. (WSJ 537,469 vs NYT 380,003)  Now WSJ is the one trying to close the gap. (NYT 896,352 vs WSJ 794,594)  Still, WSJ's print dominance (more than double NYT's print circulation) keeps it almost 680,000 in the lead for total daily circulation.

Here are ABC's stats for the daily circulation of the top 25 U.S. newspapers:

                               Total Average Circulation    Total Average Circulation   
Newspaper Name                as of 9/30/12                 as of 9/30/11          % Change
WALL STREET JOURNAL      2,293,798                     2,096,169                   9.4%
USA TODAY                       1,713,833                     1,784,242                  -3.9%
NEW YORK TIMES               1,613,865                    1,150,589                  40.3%
LOS ANGELES TIMES             641,369                       572,998                  11.9%
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS        535,875                       605,677                 -11.5%
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS    529,999                       527,568                    0.5%
NEW YORK POST                  522,868                        512,067                   2.1%
WASHINGTON POST              462,228                        507,465                  -8.9%
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES            432,455                        389,352                  11.1%
DENVER POST                      412,669                        353,115                  16.9%
CHICAGO TRIBUNE                411,960                        425,370                  -3.2%
DALLAS MORNING NEWS       410,130                        409,642                    0.1%
NEWSDAY                            392,989                        404,542                  -2.9%
HOUSTON CHRONICLE           325,814                        369,710                 -11.9%
ST. PETERSBURG TIMES        313,003                        240,024                  30.4%
NEWARK STAR-LEDGER        311,904                        210,586                  48.1%
MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE 300,277                        298,147                   0.7%
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER       296,427                        331,132                 -10.5%
CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER    293,139                        243,299                  20.5%
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER  285,088                        270,809                    5.3%
ARIZONA REPUBLIC              275,622                        292,838                   -5.9%
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL  252,174                     213,078                  18.3%
BOSTON GLOBE                   230,351                        205,939                   11.9%
OREGONIAN                         228,599                        242,784                   -5.8%
HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER 224,973                    178,082                   26.3%


MAX Redline said...

Nice catch, there, TD! At least The Oregonian can still lay claim to being the biggest paper in the Northwest. I could be wrong, but in recent months it appears that they've taken a decided shift rightward in recent months - which I assume is an underlying reason for their long-time cartoonist's decision to bail out.

And if you look at yesterday's editorial: http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2012/10/bare_knuckles_and_nonsense.html

we seen that not only have they endorsed a moderate Republican, they take Kate Brown and her union supporters to the woodshed again.

I can't recall them ever doing something like that.

T. D. said...

Good catch yourself, Max, on Ohman's leaving.

It might have to do with the piece WW ran in August about the Oregonian probably going the way of the Newhouse newspapers in Michigan, Alabama and Louisiana--cut, cut, cut.


As we've discussed before, the most difficult hurdle the Oregonian has is the lack of first rate reporters who are honest (like Jaquiss at Willamette Week) and go after stories because they are important irrespective of political fall out.

It's the same problem most of the American mass media has--which is why television, newspapers, and magazines are all suffering and losing viewers and readers big time.

Still, good for the Oregonian's editors for having some good sense on the Sec. of State race--and pooh-poohing global warming as a state issue. Heh.

Sam L. said...

I did my part a number of years ago, cancelling my subscription.

T. D. said...

We did too, Sam. A lot of their natural business has been alienated not only because of bias but incompetence (which model most of the mainstream media is following as well). Whether they can make a turn around, as Max thinks they may be trying, is still to see.