Tuesday, October 30, 2012

New USAT weekday circ dips 4%; Phoenix down 6%

Those are from the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations report, out today, for the 12 months ended Sept. 30. USA Today and The Arizona Republic are the only Gannett papers on the list of 25 top weekday circulation newspapers.

The ABC did not publicly disclose figures for any other newspapers that didn't make the top 25 list weekdays or Sundays.

The weekday numbers:
  • USAT: 1.7 million, down 3.9%
  • The Arizona Republic: 275,622, down 5.9%
  • Average change for top 25: down 0.2%
The Wall Street Journal remains the top-circulation weekday paper, at 2.3 million, up 9.4%. That includes 794,594 digital subscribers. 

The New York Times, at No. 3, has 1.6 million, up a whopping 40.3% because digital subscriptions surged to 896,352. The paper erected its paywall in March. With continued growth in digital, the NYT could soon displace USAT as the second-highest circulator.

USAT doesn't sell subscriptions for online access. But it does sell electronic editions; they totaled 86,307 and are included in the 1.7 million overall figure, according to ABC's report.

Among the top 25 based on Sunday circulation:
  • the Detroit Free Press: 694,228, up 8.6%
  • the Republic: 483,556, up 2.4%
  • average for top 25: down 0.6%

Who's got all the numbers?
In May, a kind Gannett Blog reader sent me a spreadsheet with all the ABC figures for all newspapers. I posted them here, and would be delighted to do so again if someone sends me all the numbers from the new Sept. 30 report.

Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write jimhopkins[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the rail, upper right.


  1. So mich for the redesign and lightweight news approach.kramer needs to beef up Money and Life and improve 1a and the rest of the "news" section.

  2. The power of quality editorial brands to get paid for their digital content and USAT's inability to do the same, is killing our brand.

  3. Blame it our balls.

  4. USAT leaders keep patting themselves on the back. Some a level or two down have made a career trying to stay off the radar screen while contributing virtually nothing. And others, who shouldn't subscribe to a newspaper let alone work at one, are totally out of place in a newsroom.

    Meanwhile, circulation goes down, the paper and the website look like they are put together by college kids, and there seems to be no one of character replacing the people who built the brand -- the folks who were driven out.

    USAT has a serious identity crisis. It also has a critical lack of talent. Never known for attracting top journalists, USAT was able to get by for years by at least having adequate people...and lots of them, so that for every incompetent, there was one or two others to sort of fill in the gaps. Now it has fewer people with far less ability and integrity. Massive lack of trust, too.

    USA Today will have a very hard time recruiting good enough people to reclaim its top spot. Over the last five years, USAT has done nothing other than ruin its reputation in the industry and even in some of the better J-schools. It has done this by betraying its employees and creating a sea of former staffers who have little good to say about the place.

  5. It's important to note that 252,200 of the 694,228 copies of the Sunday paper that the Detroit Free Press sells are in fact a very abbreviated version of the Sunday paper that is distributed in bulk. The fully paid Sunday circulation of the Free Press is about 440,000 -- a drop of about one-third from the paid circulation of the combined Sunday Detroit News and Free Press. It's also worth noting that the Free Press has dropped out of the list of the 25 biggest daily papers and that its print circulation excluding the digital replicas is about 130,000, not that much more than the Detroit News' print circulation, excluding digital replicas, of about 80,000. The Free Press is one of the weakest "dominant" papers in a major metro market in the nation.

  6. Actually, these circ results are very good. Better than expected IMHO.

  7. 4:24 Blowing your own horn baby? It won't help you raise yourself by trying to lower someone else. The Detroit News is still out-circulated by the Freep. By far.


  8. 5:02 p.m.: No, baby. The only reason why the Free Press has a larger circulation than the News is that it has been GIVEN several circulation advantages. First, Al Neuharth idiotically agreed to keep the News as an afternoon paper when the JOA was set up. Then, Gannett in 2005 made the News a six-day-a-week paper and gave the Free Press the Sunday paper. The Free Press never earned its position as the largest paper. If, say, MediaNews Group, the owner of the News, decides to take control of the JOA, do you really think it will stay with the lame Free Press-only Sunday paper -- the one that has lost a third of its paid circulation (excluding its throwaway) in five years? Get real. The Sunday paper will return to being a Detroit News and Free Press combination.

  9. The Sunday Detroit News used to be huge, with auto ads for car folks. It is like that market was totally destroyed by the JOA. Almost insane.

    1. Most JOAs ended up destroying one of the papers involved, opposite of what they were created to do.

  10. Cincinnati’s ABC Report:

    • Monday-Saturday paid circulation decreased 6.1% to 134,332
    • Sunday paid circulation decreased 7.9% to 237,553.
    • Single-copy sales, Sunday down 25%.


  11. Just 4 percent? How much is the circ drop really if we pull out all the useless education circulation and the 5 cent subscription copies?

  12. If usa today continues to make bad hires, it will go in the dumpster faster than Usain Bolt. Fresh faced grads with no reporting or editing experience cant compete with the NYT or WSJ.

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. The reality is, despite the Free Press' advantages related to dominance, being the paper of record, etc. the Detroit News overall has a significantly higher calibre of product. Gannett should be ashamed of the gutting they have done to the Freep in the post KR ownership.

  15. Right. We forgot the News won a Pulitzer in the last few years. NOT!

  16. 1:06 p.m.: Kudos to the Free Press winning a Pulitzer (even if the texts between the mayor and his mistress that formed the core of the story were handed to them.) Before the Free Press won in 2009, it had not won a Pulitzer for its articles since 1968 -- even in its wildly overrated days as a Knight Ridder paper. The News won Pulitzers for its articles in 1982 and 1994. The Free Press used to have great photography that won it a total of two Pulitzers in 1988 (?) and 1990. But, baby, those days are looooooooooong gone.

  17. Looking at Phoenix if all they lost was 5.9% after putting in the paywall/subscription that doesn't seem bad...seems net revenue would be up dramatically at this point...the key is what happens next and how this drop in circulation affects ad rates.

    Or is is this faulty logic?

  18. Free Press reporter who got Pulitzer now at local Fox TV station.

    What does that tell you?

    Gannettoids breed stupidity?


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