Hong Kong Audit Bureau of Circulations
Responding to one of our posts about The Wall Street Journal Europe's use of bulk sales to, well, bulk up its circulation, a commenter questioned whether The Wall Street Journal Asia employs a similar strategy. Apparently so. Heavily discounted copies account for about the same share of circulation for both editions of the Journal. For the first half of 2011, The Wall Street Journal Asia reported an average circulation of 69,932, of which 43,585 — or 62 percent — was bulk sales. For the Europe edition, that figure is about 61 percent. The circulation reports indicate that the Asia Journal has increased its bulk sales as its overall circulation has fallen in the past couple of years. And when I say "heavily discounted," I mean heavily discounted: About 40 percent of the bulk sales of the Asian edition cost less than 5 percent of the cover price. So if the cover price were $2.30 US, as it was in 2010, then half of the bulk sales would have been for a price of 12 cents per issue. || Related: Frédéric Filloux says the "ecosystem of cheating" in print circulation has its counterpart on the WebThree UK papers "are still hooked on the bulk sales drug," including The Independent: about 43 percent of its total circulation is bulk sales (paidContent.org) || Earlier: Like WSJ Europe, some US papers rely on deeply-discounted circulation (Poynter.org)