Big Metros Show Severe Declines in Latest Circ Report

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By: Jennifer Saba

The Audit Bureau of Circulations FAS-FAX report for the six-month period ending September 2006 released this morning confirmed yet again that major metros are struggling to show growth. The losses are steep while the gains are meager.

This is the fourth consecutive semi-annual report to register a severe drop in daily circulation and — perhaps more troubling to the industry — Sunday copies. While the estimated decline 2.8% for daily circulation for all reporting papers may seem negligible, consider that in years past that decrease averaged around 1%. Sunday, considered the industry’s bread-and-butter, showed even steeper losses, with a decline of about 3.4%.

Big cities like L.A., Miami, and Boston are feeling the effects of the Internet and the trimming of other-paid circulation. In New York, however, a 5.1% surge for the New York Post allowed it to leapfrog past its rival, the Daily News — and The Washington Post — into fifth place in daily circ.

The Los Angeles Times reported that daily circulation fell 8% to 775,766. Sunday dropped 6% to 1,172,005.

The San Francisco Chronicle was down. Daily dropped 5.3% to 373,805 and Sunday fell 7.3% to 432,957.

The New York Times lost 3.5% daily to 1,086,798 and 3.5% on Sunday to 1,623,697. Its sister publication, The Boston Globe, reported decreases in daily circulation, down 6.7% to 386,415 and Sunday, down 9.9% to 587,292.

The Washington Post lost daily circulation, which was down 3.3% to 656,297 while Sunday declined 3.6% to 930,619.

Circulation losses at The Wall Street Journal were average, with daily down 1.9% to 2,043,235. The paper’s Weekend Edition, however, saw its circulation fall 6.7% to 1,945,830.

Daily circulation at USA Today slipped 1.3% to 2,269,509.

The Chicago Tribune showed slight declines. Daily dropped 1.7% to 576,132 and Sunday decreased 1.3% to 937,907.

Losses at the Miami Herald were steep. Daily circulation fell 8.8% to 265,583 and Sunday fell 9.1% to 361,846.

While daily circulation stabilized compared to past reporting periods at The Sun in Baltimore, down 4.4% to 236,172, Sunday took a massive hit. Circulation on that day dropped 9% to 380,701.

The Hartford (Conn.) Courant?s daily circ was down 3.9% to 179,066 while Sunday dropped slightly, 1.5% to 264,539.

At The Philadelphia Inquirer, daily fell 7.5% to 330,622 while Sunday declined 4.5% to 682,214. Daily circulation at its sister pub, The Philadelphia Daily News, dropped 7% to 112,540.

The Star Tribune in Minneapolis reported declines. Daily was down 4.1% to 358,887 while Sunday dropped 6.3% to 596,333.

At the Orlando Sentinel, daily circulation decreased 2.5% to 214,283. Sunday fell 4.2% to 317,226.

Daily circulation at The Arizona Republic declined 2.5% to 397,294 and 2.6% on Sunday to 503,943.

The Plain Dealer in Cleveland showed daily circulation almost flat — a small victory — with a decline of 0.6% to 336,939. Sunday was down 2.3% to 446,487.

The New York Post got a leg up in the city?s tab wars. Daily circulation at the paper overtook the Daily News in showing gains of just over 5% — perhaps the only major metro in the country to report such growth — to 704,011 copies. The Daily News also increased its daily circulation, up 1% to 693,382.

That said, Sunday is still a problem for the New York Post. Circulation grew a fraction of percentage up 0.4% to 427,624. At the Daily News, Sunday circ was almost flat, down 0.1% to 780,196.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch made advances in daily circulation up 0.6% to 276,588. Sunday was down 2.4% to 418,262.

The Denver Post?s daily circulation dropped 3.1% to 255,935. The Rocky Mountain News showed similar declines with daily down 2.9% to 255,675. Combined Sunday circulation fell 4.2% to 694,053.

Newsday reported losses. Daily fell 4.9% to 410,579 while Sunday experienced similar declines, down 4.3% to 474,750.

Daily circ at the Santa Barbara (Calif.) News-Press slipped 4.6% to 39,323. Sunday lost 5.4% to 40,801.

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Related E&P Stories:

‘L.A. Times’ Reports Steep Circ Drop in FAS-FAX

Chart of FAS FAX Results for Top 25 Daily Papers in the U.S.

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