Newspapers continue to bleed readers


In the six months ranging from April 2009 through September 2009, newspaper circulation dropped -10.6%, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, accelerating the pace from the previous reporting period. According to the Associated Press, it bled only -7.1% from October 2008 through March 2009.

Sunday circulation did not fall quite as much in the most recent reporting period, coming in at -7.5%.

Associated Press reports that income from circulation was largely flat, thanks to the magic of price increases.
According to, it’s putting even more pressure on newspapers to try to monetize their own websites via paywalls. News Corp.’s Long Island paper Newsday is the latest to try to make that scenario work. But thus far those going down that path have had a tough time of it.

AdAge notes that there are some altruistic readers out there who want to prop up their favorite read – loyal New York Times readers are said to have begged to be able to pay to read the Gray Lady on line in the wake of the paper’s announcement that it was cutting 100 newsroom positions.

RBR-TVBR observation: It’s all well and good to prop up the circulation revenues, and it’s great to have that revenue stream. But those numbers can’t hold up against competition from free websites. And regardless, the real money is in advertising and for that, you need eyeballs on your product.

Great story about the NYT readers who want to pay. We suspect, however, that the pool of readers who would like to pay for online content is a distinct minority.