New Circulation Figures Offer Best News for Times -- Which Is No Bad News
The Audit Bureau of Circulation this morning released circulation figures on 700 newspapers nationwide for the past six months from Sept. 2007 backwards. The trade journal Editor & Publisher has excellent coverage as usual, noting that among the top 25 newspapers in the nation, just four showed gains in paid circulation compared to last year. The list is here.
Fortunately, the St. Petersburg Times was among that number (along with USA Today, Los Angeles Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer), although our gain was so small, at .04 percent, that it was comparable to staying flat. In Sunday circulation, we were up just .85 percent, which was still better than every other big paper in Florida. Other than a small gain in Sunday circulation for the Orlando Sentinel, every other big Florida paper lost circulation in the last report and failed to make the top 25 list. E&P expected the Miami Herald, for example, to dip more than 8 percent.
The Tampa Tribune saw a decline in weekday circulation of 5.8 percent to 192,249 from 204,175 and a decline in Sunday circulation of 5.9 percent, to 261,872 from 278,412. One of the biggest gainers percentage-wise was the Villages Daily Sun, a retirement community newspaper serving a development presumably filled with older readers who still treasure newspapers, which increased 9.52 percent to 28,620. See E&P's full list here.
Some newspapers, like the Atlanta Journal Constitution could attribute their loss to intentionally halting delivery in outlying areas (but even with that factored out, their circulation loss was about 5 percent.) It was also heartening to see big regional newspapers like the LAT and Philly Inky, which had lost lots of circulation in past reporting periods, mark some modest gains this time around.
Of course, newspapers' biggest problems are drops in advertising revenue - particularly in classified advertising. And seeing daily circulation losses of more than 6 percent in Dallas, Minneapolis, Atlanta and San Diego will warm no one's heart.