The largest US newspaper circulations fell 12% in the year to March 2022, new figures obtained by Press Gazette show.
USA Today’s latest print circulation (159,233) has fallen to around a third of its pre-pandemic level (486,579). Its circulation fell 13% in the year to March 2022.
News Corp’s New York Post has proven to be one of America’s most resilient newspapers through the pandemic. It has overtaken the Los Angeles Times to become the fifth largest daily newspaper in the US, with a circulation of 146,649, down 2% in the year to March 2022.
The best performing newspaper, in terms of year-on-year performance, is Florida’s Villages Daily Sun. Its average circulation in the six months to March 2022 was up 3% to 49,183. This is the first time it has entered Press Gazette’s top 25 ranking.
The Villages Daily Sun did not respond to a request for comment yesterday. But the Daily Sun’s print success story has been noted previously by The New York Times and others.
The Daily Sun’s print success appears to be explained by several factors, including the rapid growth of its potential audience. The Villages, a retirement community in Florida, is thought to have been the fastest-growing US metropolitan area between 2010 and 2020.
The newspaper’s publisher has retained a print-first approach for its older demographic readership. And the newspaper is low cost. According to its AAM certificate, the daily edition costs $1, but more than 90% of its circulation comes through subscriptions, which are sold for as little as $88 a year.
It is worth noting that, despite the Daily Sun’s year-on-year success, its average circulation is down from 54,346 in the first quarter of 2020. Its circulation fluctuates through the year and the newspaper generally performs better in the winter months.
The Tampa Bay Times, which switched to become a two-edition-per-week newspaper in 2020, and the Philadelphia Inquirer were the two worst-performing newspapers in the recorded period. The Tampa Bay Times’ average Wednesday circulation was down 26% year over year to 102,266, while the Inquirer was down 20% to 61,180.
Press Gazette was unable to obtain the March 2022 figures for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the Chicago Tribune and the Denver Post. Instead, we used their September 2021 numbers.
Update, 27 June: The table in this article was edited to correct Newsday’s year-on-year percentage fall from 18% to 12%.
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Picture: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst
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