Owing to a series of changes adopted by the industry-funded organization over the years, publishers no longer have to provide a five-day average of daily circulation. They also have the liberty of counting a woman who reads the paper in print, on her office computer, on her personal laptop, on her tablet and on her smartphone as five separate subscribers.Andrew Beaujon at Poynter tries to stitch together a patchwork quilt comparison of September 2014 numbers with September 2013 for some major U.S. newspapers.
Some newspapers take advantage of these options and others do not, eliminating seemingly forever the possibility of comparing apples-to-apples data across the industry – or even from year to year for the same publication, if it changes its reporting standards over time.
1. USA Today total circulation is up 67% to 2,876,586 which includes 1,545,364 in digital circulation, but print circulation is down 19%.
2. New York Times circulation is up 14% to 1,897,890, including an 18% rise in digital circulation. But, it saw a 2% drop in Sunday print circulation and a 6% drop in weekday print circulation.
3. Wall Street Journal circulation fell 4% to 2,273,767.
4. Washington Post circulation rose 19% to 800,643.
An important sidelight is that circulation revenue at the New York Times has passed advertising revenue. Beaujon continues:
Circulation revenue long ago passed advertising revenue at the New York Times Co. It was up nearly 5 percent in the third quarter and is up 6.5 percent for the first nine months of 2013. Advertising revenue is down by nearly the same percentage over the first three quarters.Circulation revenue now accounts for 56% of New York Times total revenue.
Newsosaur notes that ad revenue is down only for newspapers (-5.5%) from a year ago for the first half of 2013--not for TV (+6.4%), magazines (+0.4%) or radio (0%).
First half 2013 total for digital advertising is up 18% to $20.1 billion. This is more than double the estimated $8.6 billion for print newspaper advertising. TV advertising for the same period is about $18.4 billion, magazine advertising $9.4 billion, and radio advertising $4.3 billion.
Newspaper Association of America revenue reports can be found here.