Average Monday-Friday circulation at The New York Times was 15 percent higher for the six months ending March 2014 than it was in the same period the year before, new figures from the Alliance for Audited Media say. But that figure includes 126,162 branded editions, which AAM rules allow newspapers to roll in alongside print and digital circulation. (A branded edition could be a total market coverage publication containing coupons, for example, or a Spanish-language edition.)
The Times has never before included branded editions in its circulation totals, Times spokesperson Linda Zebian told Poynter in an email. Those figures “are comprised of the International New York Times, and are included in the circulation for every day except Sunday,” Zebian wrote.
Subtract those and the gain is a little more than 8 percent. The paper’s average Sunday circulation went up 8 percent over the year before, to 2,517,307, a figure that does not roll in any branded editions.
USA Today posted another eye-popping circulation increase that fully avails itself of AAM’s rules: A 94 percent rise in average Monday-Friday circulation that includes 668,054 branded editions, as well as 1,365,388 “digital nonreplica” editions, which includes app users. (Sam Kirkland wrote about USA Today’s renewed approach to circulation figures last year.)
Gannett began including a “butterfly edition” of USA Today in some of its local papers last year.
In California, where Orange County Register owner Aaron Kushner has placed great emphasis on print circulation, average Thursday-Saturday circulation rose 50 percent to 754,418, a figure that includes about 465,000 branded editions. Average Sunday circulation went up nearly 76 percent, but that figure, too, was heavily boosted by 230,864 branded editions. Average Thursday-Saturday print circulation was 239,595, and average Sunday print circulation was 388,748.
Both those figures nonetheless represent strong rises over previous periods: average Sunday print circulation was 285,794 in March 2013, a rise of 36 percent. The Register broke out daily circulation figures differently in March 2013, but in September 2013 it reported average Monday-Thursday print circulation of 162,066 meaning that circulation rose about 48 percent.
Average Monday-Friday circulation at The Wall Street Journal fell by 3.5 percent, to 2,294,093. Circulation of its weekend edition was also down 3.5 percent, to 2,321,996.
At The Washington Post, average Monday-Friday circulation fell 8 percent, to 436,601, a figure that includes a small number of branded editions. Average Sunday circulation, which includes about 185,000 branded editions, fell about 4 percent.
The Houston Chronicle’s average Monday-Friday circulation rose a little more than 3 percent, to 370,961, a figure that includes 40,446 branded editions. Average Sunday circulation, which includes about 490,000 branded editions, fell nearly 6 percent.
At the Los Angeles Times, average Monday-Friday circulation rose about 3 percent, and Sunday circulation was a little better than flat.
The Chicago Tribune’s average Monday-Friday circulation was up nearly 6 percent, to 439,731, and its Sunday circulation increased a smidge more than 1 percent, to 789,915. The Chicago Sun-Times’ Sunday circulation fell nearly 16 percent. It provided average totals for individual days, making comparisons for daily circulation difficult.
Louisiana remains the site of one of the most interesting newspaper wars, between the Baton Rouge Advocate and The Times-Picayune of New Orleans. The Advocate launched a New Orleans edition in 2012 but did not provide a statement by AAM’s press time. Previously, it did not break out separate figures for its New Orleans edition.
The Times-Picayune’s average daily circulation figures are broken out by individual day, making comparisons difficult, but average Sunday circulation fell nearly 9 percent, to 159,877. The Times-Picayune includes 31,975 “digital non-replica” editions in its average Sunday circulation figures; Publisher Ricky Mathews previously told Poynter that figure represented users of its app. Print circulation on Sundays is also down about 9 percent.