American newspapers this week suffered one of their biggest six-month
circulation falls ever, dropping an average 1.9% drop in daily
circulation and 2.5% on Sundays, as reports The New York Times.
But what caught Crikey’s attention were some of the reasons given
for the falls – reasons which relate to the level of inflated
circulations through giveaways and dumped bulk copies, which is exactly
the same issue threatening the credibility of many Australian
newspapers and magazines right now.
Take, for example, The Los Angeles Times, whose parent
company has already been forced to repay more than $100 million to
advertisers for circulation fraud at one of its other newspapers. The LA Times
audited daily circulation fell 6.5% and its Sunday circulation fell
7.9% in the figures released this week – but the paper released a
statement saying that “excluding the effect of a reduction in
third-party bulk sales, daily circulation would have declined 5.2% and
Sunday would have declined 4.7%”. In other words, they’re shedding the
inflated circulation before someone else does.
See this report from Editor and Publisherhere.
And on the very same subject, Sydney reader Peter Lavelle writes:
I was in the UTS (University of Technology) stationery shop in Harris St Ultimo Sydney yesterday and I saw a pile of Daily Telegraphs with a sign on them “FOR FREE”. For those especially keen students of technology, architecture and science, I guess.