Print Wall Street Journal Has Had 17 Consecutive Quarters of Circulation-Revenue Growth

The Wall Street Journal has earned some bragging rights. It has the largest circulation in the U.S., and it’s share of the media seems to just keep growing.

Publisher Les Hinton sent a memo to staffers today noting the “many accomplishments to our collective credit.”

Our progress is measurable. Through the first nine months of fiscal 2011, Dow Jones revenue increased 5%. That figure includes strong results from the Journal’s U.S. print edition (ad revenue up 7%, circulation revenue up almost 8%) and its digital editions (ad revenue up 19%, circulation revenue up 22%). Our business-to-business operations, by the third quarter, were showing new strength after the extended impact of the financial crisis.

Ours is an uncommon story in the news business. The Journal’s total ad revenue rose 2.6% in the fiscal third quarter, our sixth consecutive quarter of growth. At the New York Times, news group ad revenue fell 3.7% in the same quarter. Where the Journal’s total circulation revenue improved 8% in the quarter ended March, circulation revenue at the Times fell by 3.7%. The print Journal alone has recorded 17 consecutive quarters of circulation-revenue growth, including nearly 6% in the third quarter, as we broadened and improved it. What other newspaper can tell that story?

It’s true, such progress right now is incredibly unusual. While the New York Times is lamenting about how it might be nearing the end via dramatic (though irresistible) movie trailers, the Journal is not only keeping its head above water but growing.