April 30, 2013

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.)

And by Sunday:

Finally, here are the Top 5 newspapers by daily digital editions:

The Wall Street Journal does a weekend, not a Sunday edition, and that was up nearly 16 percent. If it were counted with Sunday papers, the Journal’s weekend edition would be the country’s biggest.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported Sunday circulation of 175,097, a 13 percent increase over March 2013. That newspaper reduced print frequency last year, rendering a comparison of average daily circulation figures impossible. Last December, Times-Picayune honchos said the paper’s circulation was up. Print circulation was in fact down about 9 percent, —  to 140,243 — but the addition of 34,854 digital non-replica copies of the paper drove the large gain.

Sunday circulation at The Washington Post was up 16 percent. The gain includes branded editions — lawn-delivered products that go to noncustomers, which the Post did not count in two previous audit cycles. Subtracting branded editions, the Post’s Sunday circulation declined 6.7 percent.

The Los Angeles Times’ daily edition was up 6 percent. Remove branded editions from that figure, and it was down slightly. Sunday circulation at the Los Angeles Times was down less than 1 percent.

The Houston Chronicle’s Sunday circulation leapt by 6 percent. The Chronicle has a robust branded edition program; branded edition delivery was up 38 percent, to 539,691 copies. Brendan Butler, a Chronicle research manager, tells Poynter in an email the Chron increased home delivery of La Voz de Houston, its Spanish-language paper, on Wednesdays and Sundays. Average Sunday print circulation of the Chronicle is down 10 percent over last March.

The Alliance for Audited Media’s rules about counting circulation have shifted in recent years. This edition of its circulation report will be the last to be accompanied by a Top 25 list of U.S. newspapers.

The total circulation numbers do not capture the full story any longer,” AAM Executive Vice President Neal Lulofs told Rick Edmonds in a phone interview. Reduced print frequency at some papers makes apples-to-apples comparisons impossible. Edmonds called Advance’s moves to reduced print frequency the “coup de grace” for average daily circulation comparisons.

Previously: Daily newspaper circulation totals ‘do not capture the full story’ anymore | ABC: Newspaper circulation rose in last six months, 5% on Sundays (May 2012)

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Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City…
Andrew Beaujon

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