Fas-Fax: Most Major Papers Continue Circulation Decline

For those holding out for some improvement in print circulation, this morning brings disappointment. The Audit Bureau of Circulations released the latest figures for the six- month period ending September 2008 and the report shows major drops in circulation at the big metros.

According to ABC for the 507 newspapers reporting in this period, daily circulation slipped 4.6 percent to 38,165,848 copies. For the 571 papers, Sunday dropped 4.8 percent to 43,631,646 copies.

For comparison purposes, in September 2007 reporting period, daily circ fell 2.6 percent and Sunday was down 4.6 percent.

Across the country, publishers have put in place plans to cater to core readers and subscribers. It’s too expensive to bulk up circulation in unprofitable areas such as third-party, newspapers in education, and bonus day copies. Not in the core market defined by the newspaper? You are out of luck, at least for the print edition.

All daily averages below are for Monday through Friday. The percent change compares this September period to the same period last year.

Daily circ at The New York Times fell 3.5 percent to 1,000,665 copies.

The Wall Street Journal (as we reported last week) was virtually flat, up about 1,800 copies on a daily basis to 2,011,999. USA Today was also up a fraction of a percent to 2,293,310 copies.

But The Washington Post’s daily circulation declined 1.9 percent to 622,714. Sunday was down 3.1 percent to 866,057. At the Los Angeles Times circ decreased a little more 5 percent daily and on Sunday to 739,147 and 1,055,076, respectively. Daily circulation at the Chicago Tribune was down 7.7 percent to 516,032. Sunday declined 5.7 percent to 864,845 copies.

The San Francisco Chronicle lost 7 percent of its daily circulation to 339,430 copies while Sunday was down a hair more, 7.4 percent to 398,116. The San Jose Mercury News was down slightly, 1.9 percent to 224,199 and Sunday was down much more, 4.3 percent to 241,518.

On the East Coast, daily circulation at The Boston Globe plummeted 10.1 percent to 323,983 copies. Sunday circ was down 8.4 percent to 503,659. The Baltimore Sun