Outlook Grim For Newspapers in Monday’s ABC Circ Report

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By: Jennifer Saba

More circulation figures continue to leak out before this Monday?s release of the Audit Bureau of Circulations report. While the numbers are grim — E&P reported figures for some papers earlier this week — circulation directors across the country are making strides increasing home-delivered copies, considered most valuable by advertisers.

Take the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News. Like other metros, the newest addition to the MediaNews Group properties is going to show steep declines. Daily is down 9.4% and Sunday slipped 9.7%. Vice President of Circulation David Rounds said the paper has been cutting back on the other-paid category and that home-delivered copies increased this period. Rounds pointed out the paper is still feeling the effects of a single copy price hike.

The Kansas City Star experienced circulation losses with daily down 1.9% and Sunday down 1.7%. The paper is expected to report growth in home delivery.

There are gainers. The Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch is expected to be up, at least in weekday circulation. Daily is estimated to rise roughly 0.6%. Sunday will show losses estimated somewhere around 3.5%. The Times-Dispatch is focusing on home-delivered copies, which should be up. Third-party circ, part of the other-paid category, is up over last year.

As E&P reported last week, industry sources estimate that daily top line circulation for the six-month period ending September 2006 will be down around 2.5% while Sunday will drop about 3%. E&P has learned that some major metros will take big hits.

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