Newspaper circulation drop accelerates

By | October 27, 2009

See full size imageCirculation at newspapers shrank at an accelerated pace in the past six months, driven in part by stiff price increases imposed by publishers scrambling to offset rapidly eroding advertising sales.

Average daily circulation at 379 U.S. newspapers plunged 10.6 percent in the April-September period from the same six-month stretch last year, according to figures released Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

It’s the largest drop recorded so far during the past decade’s steady decline in paid readership — a span that has coincided with an explosion of online news sources that don’t charge readers for access. Many newspapers also have been reducing delivery to far-flung locales and increasing prices to get more money out of their remaining sales.

The latest decline outstripped a 7.1 percent decrease in the October 2008-March 2009 period and a 4.6 percent decline in last year’s April-September window.

As both publications indicated earlier in the month, The Wall Street Journal surpassed USA Today as the top-selling newspaper in the United States. The Journal’s average Monday-Friday circulation edged up 0.6 percent to 2.02 million — making it the only daily newspaper in the top 25 to see an increase.

USA Today suffered the worst erosion in its 27-year history, dropping more than 17 percent to 1.90 million. The newspaper, owned by Gannett Co., has blamed reductions in travel for much of the circulation shortfall, because many of its single-copy sales come in airports and hotels.

The New York Times stayed in third place at 927,851, down 7.3 percent from the same period of 2008. Its Sunday edition remained the top weekend seller at 1.4 million, a decrease of 2.6 percent.

Sunday circulation at all the newspapers covered in the ABC survey fell 7.5 percent in the latest six-month span.

The circulation numbers are just the latest sign of distress in the shrinking newspaper industry.

via Newspaper circulation drop accelerates April-Sept – Yahoo! News.

Advertisers are turning to blogs instead because that’s where the readers are going. I’ll probably hit 2 million viewers faster than I hit 2 million.

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