T&G circulation down 9.3 percent; other papers down 5 percent

posted by Mike on October 25th, 2010

New York Times:

Figures released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations showed that overall weekday circulation at 635 newspapers declined 5 percent from circulation in the same six months last year. The decline last year was at more than twice that rate.

Boston Globe:

Elsewhere in Massachusetts, daily circulation at the Worcester Telegram & Gazette fell 9.3 percent from 73,207 last year to 66,397 this year.

This is not as bad as the declines at the Globe and other papers, but the T&G is still dropping fast. I’m looking around to see if there’s an explanation forthcoming–the paywall, for example.

Update: Joe presses me on the paywall issue, and on second thought the paywall probably helped their circulation numbers. At least, when they turned off their paywall a few years back, they lost like 6% of their circulation. So if they’re still using the same formula to calculate circulation, the paywall presumably helped total paid circulation. Dan Kennedy thinks it will. And supposedly the T&G’s unique visitors went up with the paywall!

That said, I don’t know anything about the subtleties of circulation calculation, and so I’m still waiting for the T&G’s explanation here.

Update 2: Comment from the T&G! Yep, looks like it was price increases that did it…

At the Telegram & Gazette, average Sunday paid circulation for the six-month period ending Sept. 26 was 77,617, representing a 9.3 percent decline compared to the same period last year, while daily paid circulation was 66,397, also representing a decline of 9.3 percent, according to the ABC report.

Online readership of the Telegram & Gazette’s websites, chiefly telegram.com, continued to show growth in unique visitors following the transition to a metered online model, which requires registration or a subscription for access to local news articles from the Telegram & Gazette. The Telegram & Gazette’s website reported 859,260 unique visitors for the month of September, a 20 percent increase over the same month in last year’s September report. Page views for the month were 7.8 million, down 5.4 percent compared to the previous year.

“Although the Telegram & Gazette experienced expected declines in paid circulation due to price increases this past year, the report also shows both print and online readership gains that resulted in a combined growth of 7.6 percent to an audience of 385,552 adults in Worcester County as surveyed for ABC by Scarborough Research,” said Tony Simollardes, readership and circulation director. While paid circulation measures copies sold, readership measures how many adults reported reading the paper or the website in a given time, whether they or some else purchased it.

While I’m dumping my brain, here are the recent #s for this time period:

  • 2007: 84,754
  • 2008: 81,437
  • 2009: 73,207
  • 2010: 66,397

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One Comment Leave a comment.

  1. On November 1, 2010 at 11:49 Nick said:

    It’s likely the “unique visitors” number is skewed by people clearing their cookies to get more free articles. More people viewing some free articles at work and some at home would also result in more “unique visitors.” A relatively small percentage of viewers getting over-counted could really throw off the numbers.

    The important number is the total amount of ad revenue the website brings in. In a situation like this, I’d expect advertisers to react slowly to changing numbers. The full impact won’t be evident for months or years.

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