Scary Times for Newspapers: Sharpest Circulation Drop in 15 Years

by: Abbi Adest

Excerpt from our Wall Street Breakfast, a one-page summary of this morning's key market-moving and stock-moving stories:

Daily Circulation Falls at U.S. Papers [Forbes]

Summary: The Newspaper Association of America reported on Monday that U.S. newspaper circulation is continuing its downward trend. Daily circulation for the six months ended September 30 fell 2.8%; Sunday circulation fell 3.4%. These were the sharpest drops in the last 15 years. The association blames both the Internet and Americans' busy schedules for this decline. The three newspapers that reported the highest circulation include USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. The Los Angeles Times suffered an 8% drop during this period, the largest of any newspaper. The L.A. Times said this was due to its efforts to reduce the number of free copies given to schools, hotels and hospitals, which advertisers consider to be less valuable than individual paid copies. Newsday, a Long Island based paper owned by the Tribune Co., The Dallas Morning News and the Chicago Sun-Times are all undergoing circulation audits due to previous misstatements regarding circulation, and did not report numbers for this period. The NAA also reported that 57 million people visited newspaper Web sites during the third quarter, up 24% from the same quarter last year.
Related links: Is the Newspaper Industry's Crying Just Crocodile Tears?Dow Jones: Maybe Our Online Business is Part of Yahoo's ProblemNewspapers: Another Slide Coming • NY Times: Newspaper Circulation Falls Sharply WSJ: Circulation Falls 2.8% at U.S. Papers
Potentially impacted stocks Dow Jones & Company (DJ), The New York Times Co. (NYSE:NYT), Gannett Co. (NYSE:GCI), The Washington Post Co. (WPO), Tribune Company (TRB), The McClatchy Company (NYSEMKT:MNI), News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWS)

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