As circulations circle the drain, some newspapers in the United States and Canada have cut daily editions, only printing the paper on the days people are most likely to buy it. In Australia we still seem to be some way from these tough decisions, but the day is coming closer. So which days are the weakest for our major metro and regional dailies, owned by Fairfax Media, News Corp Australia, Seven West Media and APN News and Media?

In most cases, but not all, Saturday editions are the biggest sellers. But the weakest day varies by paper.

Take the two national dailies, The Australian and The Australian Financial Review. The Oz’s best day is Saturday, with an average of 223,526 copies sold, and its weakest day is Thursday, when sales only reach 99,947 copies (the paper’s average net paid print sales in the September quarter were 101,040). But the AFR’s strongest day isn’t the Weekend Review on Saturdays (55,319) but the Friday edition, which sells an average of 60,892 copies. The weakest is Monday, with 50,028 copies (below the daily average net paid sales of 52,892).

For News Corp’s biggest daily seller, the Herald Sun in Melbourne, Friday was the biggest-selling day, with an average of 357,215 (Saturday was 344,041). Tuesday was the weakest day with average net paid sales of 319,830. In Sydney The Daily Telegraph had a similar profile — Friday’s 277,269 average net paid sales was the week’s biggest (Saturday’s was 244,863), while the weakest was Tuesday with 239,218. In Brisbane, The Courier-Mail’s weakest day was Tuesday with 149,038 sales on average, while the biggest day was Saturday, with 193,895 copies. In Adelaide, The Advertiser’s weakest day was also Tuesday, with 122,558 copies, while Saturday was the biggest-selling day with 173,354. The NT News in Darwin’s best day is Saturday with 19,829 sales, while the weakest is Thursday — 13,688 copies.

For Fairfax, The Age’s best day was Saturday with average net paid sales of 168,411 on that day, and Wednesday was the weakest with 89,679. The Canberra Times’ best day was also Saturday with 29,144, but the weakest was also Tuesday with 17,421. The Sydney Morning Herald had its best day on Saturdays with 196,404, but the weakest day was Thursday with 97,110, while Wednesday wasn’t far behind with 98,422 copies.

For Seven West Media, the best day for The West Australian in Perth was Saturday, with average net paid sales of 251,489 copies, with Thursday the weakest with 142,078, a big difference. APN’s regional dailies, like Fairfax’s, had their peak days on Saturdays and lowest days on Tuesday in the case of the Toowoomba Chronicle, or Mondays in the case of the Sunshine Coast Daily and the Northern Examiner in northern NSW. The same applies to most of the News Corp regional dailies, such as the Cairns Post — which sells the most papers on Saturdays and the fewest on Tuesday and then Monday.

Day of the week reporting for national, metro and regional dailies has been mandatory from 2012 for papers with sales of 25,000 or more. That was then, but in 2015 a number of papers are below that level, with The Canberra Times, and NT News being the most well-known examples. For now, though, they are still reporting their daily averages. But with average circulations of 22,797 and 14,794 respectively, and figures far below that some days, surely they’re the major papers most at risk of losing some editions.

Peter Fray

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