Oct 26, 2009

Local papers see circulations drop*

Newspapers across Southern California saw substantial drops in daily circulation over the last six months, according to the most recent Audit Bureau of Circulations report.

The region's largest paper, the Los Angeles Times, lost 11.1 percent of its weekday circulation between April and September. The paper now sells an average of 657,467 papers a day during the week.

Dean Singleton's LANG papers lost circulation as well, the Times reports. Circulation at the flagship Daily News in Woodland Hills plunged 26% to 95,938. The paper has had several rounds of buyouts and layoffs and, as a result, has shifted focus away from Los Angeles to concentrate on cities in the San Fernando Valley.

The Pasadena Star-News fell 5.3 percent to 24,362. The Long Beach Press-Telegram dropped 8.2% to 71,411 and the Daily Breeze in Torrance 2.7%, giving it a circulation of 61,925*.

Singleton's Inland Empire papers - also part of LANG - experienced similar drops, the Press-Enterprise reports. Weekday circulation at the San Bernardino Sun and the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin dropped 9.4 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively. The Sun now sells an average of 47,015 papers a day during the week and the Bulletin averages 48,014. The Sun lost 6.4 percent of its Sunday circulation and the Bulletin lost 2.9 percent.

The Belo-owned Riverside Press-Enterprise experienced the biggest decline in the Inland Empire, with circulation falling 24.3 percent on weekdays for an average of 113,182 copies sold. Sunday circulation was down 23.3 percent. Contributing to the losses were several rounds of staff cuts in the last year and the paper's decision to end delivery services in parts of San Bernardino County.

Out east, weekday circulation at the Desert Sun in Palm Springs decreased 11.6 percent to 36,207 papers. The Gannett-owned paper cut staff last year and instituted furloughs this year.

The Orange County Register's weekday circulation slipped 10.1 percent to 212,293; the Register's parent company, Freedom Communications, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month.

The San Diego Union-Tribune, which suffered major staff cuts shortly after it was bought by Beverly Hills-based Platinum Equity, dropped 10% to 242,705.

Nationally, newspapers lost an average of 10.6 percent of their circulation, according to ABC.

*I have yet to come across circulation numbers for the Whittier Daily News and San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

*Updated: Finally saw a list of all the papers. The San Gabriel Valley Tribune saw its weekday circulation fall to 33,387 papers a day from 37,594, an 11 percent drop. The Whittier Daily News fell 13,076 from 14,563, a decline of 10 percent.

A small sliver of silver lining: The Pasadena Star-News saw a 1 percent increase in Sunday circulation and the Whittier Daily News saw a 2 percent increase.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

you will read that circ is dropping because of self inflicted wounds. home and street price increases, out of area circ cuts, going hard for weekend circ at the expense of daily. when a newspaper resorts to BS the end is near. how about tough economy, content has been reduced, less relevant to readers...not circulation is down but readership is up. what a bunch of crap. shortly yopu will have a handful of subscribers but readership will be at an all time high.

i guess dean's circ push from a few years ago has died.

Anonymous said...

The stunner is that the P-E's circulation is now about what it was in 1982. Tim Hays, who took pride in publishing a good newspaper, used to say he could publish a lousy paper in Riverside County and still get some subscribers because the place was growing. Belo, which has been gutting the P-E, seems intent on proving Tim's point.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to the Breeze for being the least worst circulation drop!

Anonymous said...

The Bulletin had 70 thousand subscribers at one point.

Anonymous said...

Is this surprising? While those reporters who remain within Singleton's empire make a noble effort to keep the public informed, everything continues to be stacked against them: cuts or threats of cutsto the staff, reporters and editors pulled in different directions, apathy among management, frustration among readers who can't reach anyone on the phone.
And the Daily News doesn't cover local stories. That's a myth. Not enough hands on deck anymore for reporters to chase down stories in Pacoima, Van Nuys, or Reseda among other places. Would you read a paper that doesn't cover your neighborhoods? I wouldn't.

Anonymous said...

Circ #s at SGVN (Pas, Whit Trib) are probably the same #s as those in the inland empire. U get the same great stories in all the papers, so if you read one you've read them all.

Anonymous said...

The Daily News, fell below 100,000 for the first time since the 1980's. It is also noted that the Daily News no longer covers the Antelope Valley, as it now emphasizes on the San Fernando Valley.

Anonymous said...

Expect something big to happen in Riverside. They are losing money now. Belo can't afford that for long.

Anonymous said...

sad and will only worsen. as far as local news...i think it has been overrated in larger cities...it is an individual opinion based on market. i prefer national, some international and major city news...really don't care about local local coverage. some may like it but it hasn't worked well for larger city newspapers as a whole.

circ will only get softer.

Anonymous said...

Whittier: 13,076 vs. 14,563
San Gabriel: 33,387 vs. 37,594

Anonymous said...

I know leaders on lang and all singleton papers...the circ losses were planned and self inflicted to reduce costs and provide the advertiser better coverage with readership increases!

Let's see how the daily news numbers hold up when their audit is completed.

Anonymous said...

If comments left by 11:28 AM are accurate about circulation, then San Gabe plummeted a whopping 11 percent -- the second highest nose dive in the chain. Wonder how the San Gabriel spin masters will try to explain that when they rag on other newspapers in the chain.

And Whittier sank 10 percent...just to put it in the same context.

Anonymous said...

take a look at both of those papers two years ago...very sad. newspapers were down about ten percent so they are in line with others. the bad news is they didn't have to be. i cant tell you how many people complain about not getting their paper and how difficult it is to reach someone on the phone. it is impossible and they are losing core subscribers.

Anonymous said...

Pretty lame, people, when you use a source (The Press Enterprise) which lost 24% of it's circulation to report that the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and the San Bernardino Sun lost 5% and 9% of their circulation!

I'm so glad the PE is keeping track of the Bulletin and Sun while it's own circ is shriveling like a drunk in a Mentone night cathouse.

Good job.

Anonymous said...

Mentone night cathouse? What does that even mean?

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