US newspaper circulations: Top 25 titles lost 30% of sales after Covid-19

US newspaper circulations: America’s top 25 titles have lost 30% of print sales in two years

US newspaper circulations have fallen 30 in two years

America’s largest newspapers have lost 30% of their print circulations over the past two years, new analysis by Press Gazette has found.

The country’s top 25 newspapers now have a combined average weekday printrun of 3.1m, down from 4.4m in late 2019, according to the Alliance for Audited Media’s latest data, which covers April to September 2021.

Across the United States, there were ten newspapers with weekday circulations above 100,000 during this period.

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Our figures show that most newspapers have failed to claw back print sales that were lost in the early months of the Covid-19 crisis.

Of the top 25 titles, only one – News Corp’s New York Post – increased its print circulation between 2020 and 2021. The Post had an average weekday sales of 150,000 between April and September last year, down 13% from two years ago, but up 9% on the same period in 2020.

The map below shows where America’s largest 25 newspapers are published. Bubble sizes are proportionate to print circulations.

In addition to the growing New York Post, News Corp also owns the largest newspaper in the US, the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ’s average weekday circulation between April and September last year was 730,000, down 10% year-on-year, or 27% over two years.

The New York Times (339,000, down 6% year-on-year and 21% in two years) and USA Today ( 173,000, down 11% in a year and 67% in two years) are the second and third largest newspapers in the US.

Of the top 25 (listed below), Gannett owns three titles, News Corp two, Lee Enterprises two, Hearst two, Black Press one, and Advance Publications one. Publishers owned by Alden Global Capital account for three of the titles.

The other 11 newspapers – the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Tampa Bay Times, Newsday, Seattle Times, Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, Dallas Morning News and Chicago Sun-Times – are owned by non-chain publishers.

While print circulations have declined in recent years, many of these publications have built up, and are still growing, sizable digital subscription businesses.

The WSJ, New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Star Tribune and the Boston Globe all feature in Press Gazette’s 100k Club ranking of digital-only subscriptions.

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