Shelli DeRobertis 9:19 p.m., May 22
Most U-T circulation numbers decline, according to ABC
According to Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) data released this morning (Oct. 30), U-T circulation declined for all but its Saturday edition between Sept. 30, 2011 and Sept. 30, 2012. Sunday circulation dropped from 368,723 in fall of last year to 351,682 this year. Monday-Friday dropped from 227,872 last year to 208,931 this year. Saturday circulation rose to 300,956 this year from 225,918 last year. Saturday circulation was boosted by 109,116 in branded editions, or versions of the paper usually having a different nameplate and some distinct content. Branded editions added far fewer on other days: 13,829 Monday-Friday and 69,954 Sunday.
The North County Times, which the U-T has purchased, also recorded declines from the period ended Sept. 30 last year to the same period this year. Sunday was down from 80,920 to 78,107; Monday-Friday dropped from 74,165 to 70,476 and Saturday declined from 53,422 to 49,702.
The Los Angeles Times recorded gains on Sunday, Monday-Friday and Saturday editions. The Orange County Register had a gain Monday-Friday but declines on Sunday and Saturday.
For a newspaper's bottom line, however, much depends on how much is being charged for each paper. Under rules adopted recently, a newspaper can be sold for one penny and be counted as paid circulation. The U-T, for example, has provided papers to churches for one cent each; the church then sells the paper to parishioners for the full price, and pockets the difference as a donation. This practice can pad circulation, but advertisers soon get wise to it.