Newspaper circulation fall is slowing

Newspaper circulation fell again in the last six months recorded but not as precipitously as it had the six months before, figures released Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations show.

“[A]verage weekday circulation fell 8.7 percent in the six months that ended March 31, compared with the same period a year earlier,” the Associated Press reported. “Sunday circulation fell 6.5 percent.That’s a slight improvement from April through September of last year, when average weekday circulation dropped 10.6 percent from a year earlier and Sunday circulation fell 7.5 percent.”

“In a way,” the AP report continues,  “the new circulation figures mirror the industry’s advertising trends. While most major newspapers continue to see ad revenue decline compared with year-ago figures, the drop is becoming less extreme. Newspapers are getting some help from easy comparisons — they are holding their latest ad numbers up to results from the depths of the recession — but economic improvement is also starting to restore advertising budgets.”

Some of the loss comes from a shift in focus, according to Advertising Age. “Newspapers have, on the other hand, gotten smarter about managing their paid circulations — sometimes abandoning areas outside their core markets, for example, where advertisers were less interested in appearing and distribution costs were greater. Some have increased newsstand and subscription prices, too, in an effort to improve circulation economics. Those factors combine to depress paid circulations.”

The Ad Age report, at the link above, includes a chart with figures from the nation’s top 25 papers based on circulation.

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