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Most major newspapers in Florida and nationwide see declines in new circulation report



Newspaperhawkerimage It's been a rough couple of weeks for those of us in the newspaper business.

Last week, came reports on third-quarter earnings which showed massive losses for many newspaper companies. In a sign of the media times, an announcement that the New York Times was only going to lose $35-million actually was considered a bit of good news.

Now comes the fall release of figures from the audit bureau of circulations for the six months ending Sept. 2009 which shows steep declines for newspapers across the nation and in Florida. According to Editor and Publisher, in average weekday circulation, the San Francisco Chronicle is down nearly 26 percent, the Newark Star Ledger is down 22 percent and the Miami Herald dropped 23 percent, compared to Sept. 2008.

The St. Petersburg Times saw a 10 percent decline in average weekday circulation from last year, down to 240,147 (Sunday circulation was down 5 percent to 370,050). The number of readers who actually pay for Sunday subscriptions to the Times is up, but overall numbers are down in both categories in part due to the elimination of some free copies delivered to hotels, classrooms, non-7-days-a-week subscribers and other third parties.

The Tampa Tribune was down 18 percent to 152,568 daily; 1 percent decline on Sunday to 252,953.

Overall, circulation for all newspapers in the report dropped 10.6 percent over the past six months, compared to a 7.1 percent drop over the previous six-month period. Analyst Alan Mutter notes these are levels we haven't seen since before World War II; these days, just 12.9 percent of the population buys a daily newspaper (even back then. the lower population meant more than 30 percent of the population bought a paper, Mutter writes.)

Newspapercircdeclines1 As was revealed earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal surpassed USA Today as the top-selling newspaper in America, emerging as the only newspaper among the Top 25 confirmed to not have lost circulation compared to the year before. the Journal gained .65 percent to an average weekday circulation of 2.02-million subscribers (a figure reached by combining the paid print and paid online subscribers).

But for those hoping to argue the Journal's conservative politics may have helped its circulation numbers, other conservative newspapers such as the New York Post (down 18 percent), Chicago Tribune (down 9 percent) and Washington Times (down 17 percent to 67,148) also saw declines.

In Florida, every major newspaper was down, including, in average weekday circulation, the Sun-Sentinel in Ft. Lauderdale (down about 20,000 to 153,563); the Orlando Sentinel, down about 25,000 to 181,090 and Sarasota Herald-Tribune (down about 13,000 to 70,481).

Possible causes besides readers losing a newspaper habit cited by Editor and Publisher include increases in subscription fees as newspaper focus on squeezing more revenue from loyal customers and cutting back on circulation to distant coverage areas or to hotels and other third party recipients

 Click below to see the top 25 newspapers as reported by Editor and Publisher:

Big_news THE WALL STREET JOURNAL -- 2,024,269 -- 0.61%
USA TODAY -- 1,900,116 -- (-17.15%)
THE NEW YORK TIMES -- 927,851 -- (-7.28%)
LOS ANGELES TIMES -- 657,467 -- (-11.05%)
THE WASHINGTON POST -- 582,844 -- (-6.40%)

DAILY NEWS (NEW YORK) -- 544,167 -- (-13.98%)
NEW YORK POST -- 508,042 -- (-18.77%)
CHICAGO TRIBUNE -- 465,892 -- (-9.72%)
HOUSTON CHRONICLE -- 384,419 -- (-14.24%)

NEWSDAY -- 357,124 -- (-5.40%)
THE DENVER POST -- 340,949 -- N/A
THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC -- 316,874 -- (-12.30%)
STAR TRIBUNE, MINNEAPOLIS -- 304,543 -- (-5.53%)
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES -- 275,641 -- (-11.98%)

The PLAIN DEALER, CLEVELAND -- 271,180 -- (-11.24%)
DETROIT FREE PRESS (e) -- 269,729 -- (-9.56%)
THE BOSTON GLOBE -- 264,105 -- (-18.48%)
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS -- 263,810 -- (-22.16%)
THE SEATTLE TIMES -- 263,588 -- N/A

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- 251,782 -- (-25.82%)
THE OREGONIAN -- 249,163 -- (-12.06%)
THE STAR-LEDGER, NEWARK -- 246,006 -- (-22.22%)
SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE -- 242,705 -- (-10.05%)
ST. PETERSBURG (FLA.) TIMES -- 240,147 -- (-10.70%)

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 3:02pm]


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