Welcome to Fairfax, David Kirk. As the new CEO settles in to his
opulent executive suite at the newspaper publisher’s Darling Park head
office in Sydney next week, he will be welcomed by a set of circulation
figures that could either be described as “challenging” or a “f*ck-up,”
depending on which style of management-speak you use.

The latest Audited Bureau of Circulation figures – to be released tomorrow – are more bad news for the Fairfax flagships.

TheSydney Morning Herald
again leads the downward slide, with its weekday and Saturday
circulation still falling over the past year – despite promises of a

In Melbourne, The Age is sliding down the
same slippery pole – weekday circulation is down year-on-year and the
Saturday sale is still falling badly. The only bright spot at Spencer
Street is TheSunday Age, where circulation is up a bit over the past year – but it’s less than a third of its competitor, the Sunday Herald Sun, which is booming ahead yet again.

And to complete the picture, the troops at TheFinancial Review have presented their new boss with a static weekday circulation, and a further fall on Saturdays.

Over at News Limited, it’s a brighter picture with The Australian and Weekend Australian both showing small circulation gains, TheDaily Telegraph static on weekdays and up on Saturday, – although TheCourier-Mail and Adelaide Advertiser have fallen back over the past year and TheSunday Telegraph has taken a fairly big hit.

When the papers announce their circulations tomorrow and over the
weekend, you can assume plenty of trumpet blowing at the News Limited
mastheads and plenty of discussion about “the quality of readership”
and “quality demographics” in the Fairfax quality press.

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Peter Fray
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