(Update) Inquirer, Daily News Continue Circulation Decline

Challenges persist for the city's major daily newspapers.

Updated with comment from a company spokesman.

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Print circulation at the Philadelphia Inquirer continues its long slide, according to preliminary numbers from the Alliance for Audited Media.

The Inky’s average Sunday print circulation for the six month period that ended September 30th was 312,197, down 12,000 copies a week from the last report in March, and off by roughly 18,000 copies a week from the same report a year ago. (The preliminary “snapshot” numbers can be seen — along with audited reports from March 2014 and September 2013 — below.)

Circulation was down for the Inquirer’s weekday and the Daily News print editions as well.

“The trend lines for our print numbers are very much in line with other major metro newspapers, but we continue to aggressively pursue ways to improve our products,” said company spokesman Jonathan Tevis. “The significant expansion of The Inquirer’s arts and entertainment coverage and the enhancements to the real estate and health sections illustrate this point. Special reports like the Daily News’ city gentrification project also demonstrate our ongoing commitment to providing readers with the news and information they expect from their local newspaper.

“At the same time, we are very encouraged by the progress we are making on the digital content side. Our replica editions remain very popular, and our September web analytics showed more growth in the area of unique visitors from both desktop and mobile. We also saw a sharp increase in our dominance among competing local news websites in September.”

The paper’s average Monday through Friday circulation also slid to 158,546 copies per day, off about 8,000 copies a day from the 166,000 copies a day sold in March, and about a 15,000-a-day drop from September 2013.

The paper’s “branded editions” — which tend to be the Daily News, mostly — also saw a drop: Monday-through-Friday average circulation there was 45,878 copies a day. (Tuesday’s report, which was preliminary, didn’t indicate if any other branded editions were published during the reporting period.) The Daily News was selling 51,875 copies a day just a year ago.

There was news on the digital front, as well. Circulation for the Inky’s “digital replica” — a digital version of the paper that looks just like the paper, only on your screen, slid to 42,254 47,254 viewers on weekdays from 53,069 in March. Circulation for the “digital non-replica” — basically, the two soon-to-be-defunct paywalled sites of the Inquirer and Daily News —  actually grew, from 63,614 to 75,922. However, both digital editions are often included in a print subscription, but counted separately for circulation purposes, making it difficult to know how accurately they represent actual online readership of the newspapers.

Finally, the Inquirer said it had reached a combined audience — for both print and online products — of 1.871 million readers during the September reporting period, down slightly from 1.887 million readers in March.

It’s the last official semi-annual “snapshot” of circulation numbers from the Alliance for Audited Media, the organization announced. The company is transitioning toward a new format that features more frequent circulation reporting.

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