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Thoughts and Experiences from the Mile High City of Denver, Colorado

Newspaper Circulation Continues Decline


In figures released today by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, of the top 25 papers in circulation, only four saw gains. In the story, First FAS-FAX Numbers: Many Top Papers Take Big Hits, "... for 538 daily U.S. newspapers, circulation declined 2.5% to 40,689,617. For 609 papers that filed on Sunday, overall circulation dropped 3.5% to 46,771,486."

The newspaper circulations have been declining for a long time. People are beginning to get their news in other mediums and in a more timely fashion. People are not relying on getting their news in their morning or afternoon papers anymore.

Examples of the figures for the last six-month period.

  • New York Times fell 4.51% in their daily circulation and 7.59% on Sundays.
  • Washington Post was down 3.2% during the week and 3.9% on Sundays.
  • San Francisco Chronicle was down 2.9% during the week and 0.6% on Sunday.

Locally, the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News were down over 10%. The combined Sunday paper was down 13.52% over the last six months. The daily numbers at the Rocky Mountain News were down 11.9% according to another article, 'Rocky' Road: Denver Paper's Circ Plunges -- Now Points to Total Audience.

It is going to be fun to see how the newspapers come back from this.  The circulation numbers have direct ties to advertising revenue.  Less circulation, less the advertisers pay to a newspaper.

The Rocky and its sister publication Denver Post are now looking at total audience, combining their print and online viewership.

In an article published on the Rocky Mountain News website, Circulation of Rocky, Post down 11.9 percent, "The Denver papers report a local "total net audience" of 1,677,231 in the local television market and an audience of 1,363,093 in the area it designates as where it sells its ads. Readers who read both the print and Web site are counted as one person."

To me, they are playing with numbers.  The Denver Newspaper Agency is trying to minimize the impact on the decline of their print circulation by combining it with their online viewership.  These should be separate.