US Newspapers' Sales Slide Continues

10 May 2006

The general slide in US newspaper readership shows no sign of ending as latest six-monthly figures attest.

The Audit Bureau of Circulations shows sales fell 2.5% in the half year ending March 31, as readers turn increasingly to the internet for news and analysis. The drop is the same as in the previous six months.

Some titles did buck the trend, including the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and the biggest selling daily, Gannett's USA Today. But the Tribune Company's Los Angeles Times saw its readership numbers drop 5.4% compared with the same period a year earlier.

Average daily circulation of 770 daily newspapers fell to about 45.4 million readers, compared with around 46.6m in the same six months last year. The Sunday circulation at 610 newspapers fell 3.1% to 48.5m.

Despite the declines in paid copies, the Newspaper Association of America revealed that newspaper-run websites had an 8% increase in viewers in the first quarter.

The data from Nielsen/NetRatings found that newspaper websites averaged 56 million users in the period, or 37% of all online users in the period.

Comments NAA president John Sturm: "We are now starting to see the positive impact that publishers' innovations and strategies to broaden their audience online are having on our audiences and readership."

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff