Newspaper circulation drops nationally
Daily circulation fell 2.8 percent at U.S. newspapers in the six-month period ending in September, an industry group reported Monday, the latest sign of struggle as newspapers try to hold on to paying readers.
Sunday circulation fell 3.4 percent in the same period, according to the Newspaper Association of America's calculations of data supplied by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
Seattle's two daily newspapers experienced slower declines than in the recent past.
The Seattle P-I's Monday-Friday circulation dropped by 4.9 percent to 126,225, an improvement over the 9 percent decline that occurred in the six-month period ended March 31. Circulation sank by 9.1 percent in the six months before that, which ended Sept. 29, 2005.
The Seattle Times' Monday-Friday circulation declined by 1.3 percent to 212,691. That's a slower decline than the 5.4 percent seen in the six-month period ended March 31 and the 6.7 percent drop of the six-month period ended Sept. 29, 2005. The P-I's Saturday circulation dropped by 5.1 percent to 113,697, while the Times' Saturday figure dropped by 2.1 percent to 199,505. The Sunday paper, produced mainly by the Times, fell by 4.1 percent to 423,275.
In Monday-Friday circulation, the King County Journal dropped by 3.5 percent to 39,109, Tacoma's News Tribune fell 5.7 percent to 116,150, Bremerton's Kitsap Sun dropped 2.7 percent to 29,302 and the Everett Herald declined 1.4 percent to 49,035.
The Olympian held steady, posting Monday-Friday circulation of 32,833 through a statistically insignificant addition of 25 subscriptions. The Bellingham Herald didn't submit figures in time for inclusion in the report.
The latest declines are in line with a long-term trend of falling circulation as newspapers battle with ever-increasing demands on readers' time as well as rapid changes in reading and advertising habits due to the growth of Internet use.
Gannett Co.'s USA Today remained the top-selling newspaper in the country with average paid circulation of 2,269,509, but that was down 1.3 percent from the comparable period a year earlier.
The Wall Street Journal, published by Dow Jones & Co., kept its No. 2 spot at 2,043,235, down 1.9 percent. The New York Times was next with 1,086,798, down 3.5 percent.
The Los Angeles Times, published by Tribune Co., suffered the largest drop among major newspapers with a decline of 8 percent in the period to 775,766, which the paper attributed to ongoing efforts to cut back on third-party circulation.
Those copies, which are often distributed to schools, hotels, hospitals and other public places, tend to be less valued by advertisers. The Los Angeles Times said it has been reducing that kind of circulation in favor of individually paid copies.
New York's two fiercely competitive tabloids were the only papers in the top 20 to win circulation gains in the period.
The New York Post, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., reported a 5.1 percent gain to 704,011, edging ahead of its longtime rival the New York Daily News, owned by the real estate developer Mortimer Zuckerman, which had a gain of 1 percent to 693,382.
Among other major newspapers, The Washington Post had a 3.3 percent decline to 656,297; the Chicago Tribune fell 1.7 percent to 576,132; and the Houston Chronicle, owned by Hearst Corp., fell 3.7 percent to 508,097.
Newsday, a Long Island-based paper owned by Tribune, reported a 5 percent decline compared with a year ago to 410,579. This summer Newsday completed a cycle of four six-month audits as part of a censure from the Audit Bureau for previously misstating circulation figures.
Two other newspapers that had also been punished for previous circulation misstatements, The Dallas Morning News and the Chicago Sun-Times, are still undergoing the additional audits required by the Audit Bureau and did not report circulation figures for this period.
Separately, the Newspaper Association of America also reported that, according to its analysis of online traffic data from Nielsen/NetRatings, nearly 57 million people visited newspaper Web sites in the third quarter, up 24 percent from the same period a year ago. That figure made up 37 percent of all Internet users.
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