US newspapers gain online, but print lags

Oct 31, 2012
US daily newspapers gained online readers over the past six months, but not enough to make up for declining print circulation, industry data showed.

US daily newspapers gained online readers over the past six months, but not enough to make up for declining print circulation, industry data showed Tuesday.

The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) said that in the six months to September 30, overall circulation—a measure including both print and digital—fell 0.2 percent for dailies and rose 0.6 percent for Sunday editions.

The industry group said digital circulation now accounts for 15.3 percent of newspapers' total circulation mix, up from 14.2 percent earlier this year and 9.8 percent in September 2011.

Digital circulation includes tablet and smartphone apps, online replicas, metered or restricted-access websites, or e-reader editions.

The ABC this year began counting both digital and print readers in calculating circulation for the 613 dailies and 528 Sunday newspapers.

Under this system, The was the top US daily with 1.5 million print editions and 794,000 digital readers, for a total of 2.23 million. That was up 9.4 percent from a year ago.

was the top newspaper for print only with a circulation of 1.6 million, but with only 86,000 online readers, it was number two overall at 1.7 million.

The New York Times was number three overall with digital readership of 896,000, and print circulation of 717,000. It was the only major daily where digital readership topped that of print and its total circulation was up 40 percent over the past year to 1.15 million.

The Times last year began charging readers for full access to the newspaper's website. The Wall Street Journal also charges for online access to WSJ.com and many other newspapers are implementing "paywalls" or metered access.

The was the number four US daily with a circulation of 641,000, including 454,000 in print.

Fifth largest was the New York Daily News, followed by the San Jose Mercury News, , , Chicago Sun-Times and .

The New York Times remained the top Sunday newspaper with total average circulation of just over 2.1 million, including more than 850,000 digital.

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