U.S. newspapers saw daily circulation decrease on average by less than 1 percent from March 2012 to March 2013.
The Top 5 newspapers by average daily circulation:
Top 5 newspapers by daily digital editions:
AAM released its semiannual newspaper Snapshot report (formerly known as FAS-FAX), which covers top-line circulation and audience figures from October 2012 through March 2013. Data for approximately 700 U.S. and Canadian newspapers is available via AAM’s database, the Media Intelligence Center.
Daily circulation for the 593 U.S. newspapers reporting comparable averages for the March 2013 and March 2012 periods decreased 0.7 percent. Sunday circulation for the 519 newspapers reporting comparable data was down 1.4 percent.
Newspapers may include digital editions — tablet or smartphone apps, PDF replicas, metered or restricted-access websites, or e-reader editions — in their total circulation. Digital editions now account for 19.3 percent of U.S. daily newspapers’ total average circulation, up from 14.2 percent in March 2012.
Branded editions, which are newspaper-owned products such as commuter, community, alternative-language or Sunday-Select type newspapers, may also be included in total circulation. Branded editions account for 5.1 percent of U.S. newspapers’ total average circulation, up from 4.5 percent in March 2012.
Changes to Comparative Data
Since the adoption of current reporting standards in 2010, publishers have modified their subscription types, incorporated branded editions and embraced digital platforms in lieu of print distribution on certain week days. Due to the many ways that newspapers now distribute and market their content — including year-over-year changes at individual papers — AAM cautions against drawing too many direct comparisons of the data in the Snapshot report.
In March, the AAM board granted an exception to allow a group of newspapers to exclude reporting a five-day average in this Snapshot file due to a reduction in their print distribution frequency. These newspapers are noted in the report with this message:
Due to print frequency reduction, per the AAM board, title is exempt from 5 day average. As a result, only comparative data is shown for Sunday (if applicable).
The AAM board recently considered these trends and gave initial approval to eliminate the five-day average requirement. If this is given final approval in July, five-day averages will be optional for the next newspaper Snapshot report in the fall. The Snapshot report will continue to show circulation metrics for each day newspapers with circulation over 50,000 are published in print or digital.