Circulation falls at top U.S. daily newspapers

NEW YORK Mon Nov 5, 2007 8:38am EST

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NEW YORK Nov 5 (Reuters) - Circulation fell at some of the biggest U.S. daily newspapers as of the end of September, according to statistics released on Monday, as readers moved online and publishers cut discounted copies from their subscription rolls.

Average daily paid circulation for newspapers printed Monday through Friday fell 2.6 percent and Sunday circulation fell 3.5 percent for the six-month period that ended Sept. 30, 2007, compared with the year before, according to publishers' statistics released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

In the top 25 markets, average daily paid circulation fell 2.4 percent, while Sunday circulation fell 4.6 percent.

The latest report from the audit bureau contains data from 721 U.S. daily newspapers, with 538 papers reporting average daily paid circulation results for Monday through Friday.

Most big city dailies reported that average daily paid print circulation fell. Dow Jones & Company Inc DJ.N reported that The Wall Street Journal's daily circulation -- which includes paid subscriptions to its Web site -- dropped 1.5 percent, while The New York Times (NYT.N) fell 4.5 percent.

Both the New York Daily News and New York Post reported circulation declines, with the Post down 5.2 percent and the Daily News down 1.7 percent.

The Washington Post WPO.N reported a 3.23 percent drop, while the Chicago Tribune reported a 2.9 percent drop. Its parent company Tribune Co TRB.N said circulation fell at Long Island, New York's Newsday, but rose 0.5 percent at the Los Angeles Times.

Gannett Co Inc (GCI.N) reported a 1 percent rise in daily paid circulation at USA Today, while the Philadelphia Inquirer said circulation rose 2.3 percent.

Sunday circulation fell at top U.S. papers, with The New York Times down 7.6 percent, the Los Angeles Times down 5.1 percent and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution down 9.6 percent.

Many papers for the first time are reporting readership data, which includes the number of people estimated to read a copy of the paper, not just how many papers were sold.

Many also are reporting usage of their Web sites as well as a figure that combines their print and Web site usage while not counting people twice who use both products. (Reporting by Robert MacMillan)

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