Audit Bureau of Circulations


NYT’s big circulation gains include copies of international edition

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. Read more

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Nate Silver: Pulitzer-winning newspapers aren’t immune to circulation losses


A newspaper’s Pulitzer Prize count has very little effect on its circulation losses, Nate Silver found after a spin through some data:

Does that mean that newspapers might as well forget about quality as an economic strategy? That’s not what this data says. There is a relationship between Pulitzer Prizes and circulation (the correlation is .53 among the 50 newspapers listed here). It’s just that this relationship hasn’t changed much from 10 years ago. The vast majority of newspapers have seen their circulations decline; the ones that win a lot of Pulitzers have suffered about as much as the ones that don’t. You could spin this result as a negative for high-quality journalism — newspapers that win Pulitzers are doing no better at retaining their readers — or as a positive — almost all newspapers are struggling, but the ones that win Pulitzers continue to have more readers.

Silver looked at daily circulation figures, which led to some strangeness: The Times-Picayune dropped 100 percent by his count, for example, because it no longer publishes daily.

Increasingly, though, it’s nearly impossible to wrest any meaning from the circulation figures publishers report to the Alliance for Audited Media. The data are, as Silver might say, very, very noisy.

Some papers count average daily circulation as Monday through Friday. Some do Monday through Saturday. Others, like the Times-Picayune, break out circulation data by individual day. At any rate, Sunday is “by far the most valuable audience for advertisers,” Rick Edmonds wrote in 2012.

Here’s what I wrote last October about circulation in Louisiana in September 2013: Read more


New York Times passes USA Today in daily circulation

Alliance for Audited Media

U.S. newspapers saw daily circulation decrease on average by less than 1 percent from March 2012 to March 2013, according to the every-six-months report by the Alliance for Audited Media (formerly the Audit Bureau of Circulations). Sunday circulation was down 1.4 percent on average.

The Top 5 newspapers by average daily circulation: (You can click on the image for a larger version.)

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Audit Bureau of Circulations renamed

The New York Times
The Audit Bureau of Circulations will rename itself the Alliance for Audited Media, Stuart Elliott reports. “The new name is intended to be broader and not limited by the word ‘circulations,’ ” ABC president Michael J. Lavery tells Elliott.

“We’re certainly proud of our roots and will continue to be rooted in print for years and years to come,” Mr. Lavery said, but added that “as we’ve been extending our audit services we’ve become platform- and channel agnostic, including online, digital editions, newsletters and apps” along with print publications.

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Washington Post Sunday circulation drop bad, but not quite as bad as it looks

The Washington Post’s average Sunday circulation dropped 20.2 percent over 2011, according to the most recent Audit Bureau of Circulations report. But just like in the May report, the September report didn’t count the Post’s branded editions with its Sunday numbers.

That branded edition is Savings Now, an advertising product with editorial content that’s home-delivered to non-Post subscribers. It added 119,029 to the Sunday 2011 numbers. Subtract that from the difference between 2011′s average Sunday circulation (846,019) and 2012′s (674,751), and you have a real drop of 52,239, or a little more than 7 percent. Read more


Newspaper circulation stays the same in latest ABC report, but the mix is shifting to digital

Newspaper circulation was essentially the same in the six months ending September 30, compared to the same period a year ago, the Audit Bureau of Circulations reported this morning.

The 613 papers reporting daily results for both periods saw circulation fall 0.2 percent. For 528 papers reporting comparable Sunday results, circulation was up 0.6 percent.

Those numbers mask an important change, though. With the fast adoption of paywall systems, paid digital has risen to 15.3 percent of the total, compared to 9.8 percent in the 2011 period. That means print numbers are falling by roughly an equal amount.

That change is not surprising given digital pay plan trends. More than 300 papers now charge for digital, with 70 of Gannett’s 80 community papers making the switch and McClatchy’s 30 just beginning a similar roll-out.

So digital-only subs are on the rise. Plus the many papers that offer a bundled subscription including print and several digital platforms can count users on each of those additional platforms as new circulation, so long as the digital option is accessed once a month.

At the same time, many publishers — including Gannett and The New York Times are raising print subscription rates. They are accepting some loss in circulation numbers to get equal or greater revenue.

Finally, the new digital packages often allow Sunday-only subscriber access to all digital versions, shifting some print readership from daily to Sunday. So Sundays have been showing better results for several reporting periods, though the differences are small this six months.

Circulation rankings of the largest papers also stayed steady. The New York Times has passed the Wall Street Journal in digital subscribers, but the Journal holds its overall lead. The Times is now within 100,000 copies of passing USA Today for second.

With its booming digital circulation growth, The New York Times has a wide lead on Sundays, with more than twice the volume of the second-ranked Houston Chronicle.

ABC cautions against drawing too many comparisons — either among papers or at individual papers year-to-year because of changes in rules, offerings and what individual papers choose to count.

Included in the paid totals are digital replica editions and copies sold on e-readers. Also, papers are allowed to count as “verified circulation” Sunday Select products, typically the insert package with little or no news, so long as non-subscribing households have asked to receive it.

Also there is a category for “branded editions,” allowing clusters like MediaNews’s San Francisco holdings or the Chicago Sun Times and its suburban papers to be combined for reporting purposes.

Under a new rule phased in this reporting period, papers have added the metric of total customer accounts. This will allow advertisers to assess how much double-counting there is at a given paper under the liberal digital rules. Read more


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