Research and Data

Top 25 U.S. Newspapers for September 2012

The FAS-FAX report includes top-line circulation data for all newspaper members for the six months ending Sept. 30, 2012. Newspapers participating in Audience-FAX have additional print and online readership and website activity data included in the report.

Key Statistics

Daily circulation for the 613 U.S. newspapers reporting comparable multiday averages decreased 0.2 percent. Circulation for the 528 newspapers reporting comparable Sunday data increased 0.6 percent. On average, digital circulation now accounts for 15.3 percent of newspapers’ total circulation mix, up from 9.8 percent in September 2011. Digital circulation may be tablet or smartphone apps, PDF replicas, metered or restricted-access websites, or e-reader editions. Branded editions, newspaper-owned products such as commuter, community, alternative-language or Sunday-Select type newspapers, make up 5.6 percent of newspapers’ total average circulation, up from 4.2 percent in September 2011.

Today’s report only includes top-line information on circulation categories like digital and branded editions. More in-depth information, such as digital distribution platforms, will be available as newspapers’ publisher’s statements are released. ABC members may also subscribe to the eFAS-FAX analyzer tool.

What’s Included in the Report

ABC rules allow newspapers more flexibility to develop publishing plans to cater to their markets and report these expanded platforms to ABC. As a refresher about what’s included in average circulation:

  • Paid/verified circulation. Paid circulation includes copies purchased by an individual recipient or a specialized distribution channel (such as business/traveler). Verified circulation includes copies such as third-party  and copies distributed to schools and newspaper employees.
  • Branded editions are editions of the newspaper that are published at least weekly, have a different name than the member newspaper, but are labeled to include the word “edition.” Branded editions may include commuter, community or alternative-language newspapers.
  • Digital editions are distinguished between replica and nonreplica, which both need to have restricted access. Replica editions must have the same editorial, layout and ROP advertising as the print version. Nonreplica editions must maintain the print version’s basic identity, although its editorial and advertising content may differ.

This is also the first FAS-FAX report to include total consumer accounts, which represent unduplicated subscriber accounts. It’s important to note that this figure does not include newsstand sales or verified circulation (except requested home delivery). Because newspapers have various publishing plans, it is important to understand the different categories on the report and how those programs may impact a newspaper’s overall circulation. Due to the many ways that newspapers now distribute and market their content — metered paywalls, mobile apps, bundled subscriptions, branded editions — ABC cautions against drawing too many direct comparisons of the data in the FAS-FAX report.

Below are a few charts pulled from the report: the top 25 Sunday and weekday U.S. newspapers by circulation and the top 25 U.S. newspapers with digital editions.

Average Circulation at the Top 25 U.S. Daily Newspapers

Preliminary Figures as Filed with the Audit Bureau of Circulations – Subject to Audit
Newspaper Name Print Total Digital Total Excluding Branded Editions Total Branded Editions Total Average Circulation as of 9/30/12 Total Average Circulation as of 9/30/11 % Change
WALL STREET JOURNAL 1,499,204 794,594 2,293,798   2,293,798 2,096,169 9.4%
USA TODAY 1,627,526 86,307 1,713,833   1,713,833 1,784,242 -3.9%
NEW YORK TIMES 717,513 896,352 1,613,865   1,613,865 1,150,589 40.3%
LOS ANGELES TIMES 454,498 151,577 606,075 35,294 641,369 572,998 11.9%
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS 383,835 146,605 530,440 5,435 535,875 605,677 -11.5%
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS 124,588 43,318 167,906 362,093 529,999 527,568 0.5%
NEW YORK POST 344,755 178,113 522,868   522,868 512,067 2.1%
WASHINGTON POST 434,693 27,535 462,228   462,228 507,465 -8.9%
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES 192,360 70,932 263,292 169,163 432,455 389,352 11.1%
DENVER POST 226,118 176,446 402,564 10,105 412,669 353,115 16.9%
CHICAGO TRIBUNE 388,848 23,112 411,960   411,960 425,370 -3.2%
DALLAS MORNING NEWS 192,345 64,788 257,133 152,997 410,130 409,642 0.1%
NEWSDAY 278,369 114,620 392,989   392,989 404,542 -2.9%
HOUSTON CHRONICLE 234,483 91,331 325,814   325,814 369,710 -11.9%
TAMPA BAY TIMES 218,334 13,610 231,944 81,059 313,003 240,024 30.4%
NEWARK STAR-LEDGER 184,474 127,430 311,904   311,904 210,586 48.1%
MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE 234,475 65,802 300,277   300,277 298,147 0.7%
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER 193,729 43,224 236,953 59,474 296,427 331,132 -10.5%
CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER 219,509 73,630 293,139   293,139 243,299 20.5%
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER 160,578 15,273 175,851 109,237 285,088 270,809 5.3%
ARIZONA REPUBLIC 274,783 839 275,622   275,622 292,838 -5.9%
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL 129,363 13,412 142,775 109,399 252,174 213,078 18.3%
BOSTON GLOBE 180,919 49,432 230,351   230,351 205,939 11.9%
OREGONIAN 209,083 17,323 226,406 2,193 228,599 242,784 -5.8%
HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER 125,722 29,932 155,654 69,319 224,973 178,082 26.3%

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Average Circulation at the Top 25 U.S. Sunday Newspapers

Preliminary Figures as Filed with the Audit Bureau of Circulations – Subject to Audit
Newspaper Name Print Total Digital Total Excluding Branded Editions Total Branded Editions Total Average Circulation as of 9/30/12 Total Average Circulation as of 9/30/11 % Change
NEW YORK TIMES 1,250,077 850,816 2,100,893   2,100,893 1,645,152 27.7%
HOUSTON CHRONICLE 411,751 71,514 483,265 587,025 1,070,290 911,564 17.4%
LOS ANGELES TIMES 809,176 153,016 962,192   962,192 905,920 6.2%
CHICAGO TRIBUNE 733,981 32,580 766,561   766,561 781,128 -1.9%
DALLAS MORNING NEWS 296,466 64,774 361,240 339,409 700,649 374,653 87.0%
DETROIT FREE PRESS 435,996 6,032 442,028 252,200 694,228 639,350 8.6%
WASHINGTON POST 651,428 23,323 674,751   674,751 846,019 -20.2%
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS 460,255 146,289 606,544 49,103 655,647 667,638 -1.8%
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS 185,349 22,813 208,162 443,175 651,337 602,566 8.1%
DENVER POST 388,374 149,097 537,471 66,713 604,184 538,133 12.3%
ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION 350,989 3,851 354,840 231,453 586,293 410,022 43.0%
MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE 476,573 42,172 518,745 59,912 578,657 543,633 6.4%
ARIZONA REPUBLIC 433,663 807 434,470 49,086 483,556 472,200 2.4%
NEWSDAY 341,845 129,817 471,662   471,662 476,723 -1.1%
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER 385,880 59,661 445,541 23,018 468,559 482,457 -2.9%
CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER 315,978 73,162 389,140 60,223 449,363 403,945 11.2%
NEWARK STAR-LEDGER 300,076 114,662 414,738 27,536 442,274 333,601 32.6%
NEW YORK POST 270,526 163,517 434,043   434,043 379,673 14.3%
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES 186,182 71,200 257,382 151,295 408,677 400,506 2.0%
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER 294,640 7,236 301,876 85,671 387,547 397,764 -2.6%
TAMPA BAY TIMES 366,703 12,672 379,375   379,375 403,229 -5.9%
BOSTON GLOBE 323,345 49,196 372,541   372,541 360,186 3.4%
SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE 272,957 8,771 281,728 69,954 351,682 368,723 -4.6%
SEATTLE TIMES 288,292 26,190 314,482 29,398 343,880 333,937 3.0%
SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS 226,281 9,593 235,874 103,591 339,465 344,120 -1.4%

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Top 25 U.S. Daily Newspapers with Digital Editions

Preliminary Figures as Filed with the Audit Bureau of Circulations – Subject to Audit
Newspaper Name Digital Replica Digital Nonreplica Total Digital Total Average Circulation as of 9/30/12
NEW YORK TIMES 13,089 883,263 896,352 1,613,865
WALL STREET JOURNAL   794,594 794,594 2,293,798
NEW YORK POST 28,659 149,454 178,113 522,868
DENVER POST 44,116 132,330 176,446 412,669
LOS ANGELES TIMES 23,992 127,585 151,577 641,369
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS 29,072 117,533 146,605 535,875
NEWARK STAR-LEDGER 15,892 111,538 127,430 311,904
NEWSDAY   114,620 114,620 392,989
LOS ANGELES INVESTORS BUSINESS DAILY 46,075 51,696 97,771 156,767
HOUSTON CHRONICLE 69,595 21,736 91,331 325,814
USA TODAY 69,006 17,301 86,307 1,713,833
DETROIT FREE PRESS 82,863 1,941 84,804 215,401
CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER 10,106 63,524 73,630 293,139
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES 20,207 50,725 70,932 432,455
ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS 55,788 11,372 67,160 195,333
MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE 47,222 18,580 65,802 300,277
DALLAS MORNING NEWS 64,788   64,788 410,130
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE 27,931 28,119 56,050 212,550
BOSTON GLOBE 9,028 40,404 49,432 230,351
SALT LAKE CITY DESERET NEWS 14,882 32,829 47,711 91,639
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS 35,061 8,257 43,318 529,999
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER 25,572 17,652 43,224 296,427
DETROIT NEWS 39,992 347 40,339 121,492
RIVERSIDE CO. PRESS-ENTERPRISE 30,351 9,506 39,857 126,585
MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL 38,499   38,499 207,066

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