Newspapers See Uptick in Digital Subscriptions, Weekend Circulation

More proof that paywalls are working

While many of the country’s newspapers battle shrinking print circulations, subscriptions to their digital editions—and, in some cases, weekend editions—have actually been growing.

According to the latest semiannual report from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, which includes newspaper data for the six months ending September 30, newspapers including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Denver Post, and The Dallas Morning News all saw digital circulation growth.

Since the Times implemented its paywall last spring, digital subscriptions have more than tripled to 380,000. WSJ, which also requires a paid subscription to access online content, reached a digital circulation of 537,000, making it the top paid digital edition.

Combining print and digital subscriptions, the WSJ was the country’s largest weekday newspaper, with an average circulation of about 2.1 million. USA Today followed in second with an average circulation of 1.8 million, while The New York Times came in third with 1.2 million. The Los Angeles Times and San Jose Mercury News (including branded editions) rounded out the top five.

The WSJ and the Times also saw their weekend circulations increase in the past six months. Circulation for the WSJ’s Saturday edition was up 7 percent year over year, to 1,488,162, while single copy sales rose 3 percent.

The Times’ home delivery print circulation increased for the first time in five years, due to a rise in subscriptions to its Sunday edition, which grew 0.2 percent to 992,383. According to Times executives, the paywall caused more people to sign up for print subscriptions—and especially the less expensive weekend option—since they include digital access.

Recommended articles