DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
The Wall Street Journal kept its position as the country's largest newspaper by average weekday circulation during the six months ended in March, with others in the top three also keeping their ranks, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
The latest report, which included more than 680 U.S. daily newspapers, is the first to reflect new rules that aim to address circulation issues related to digital editions as well as break out numbers for copies purchased by individuals as opposed to those distributed to third parties. As such, the data weren't directly comparable with past figures, the ABC said. The rule revisions represent more than two years of work by a task force of newspaper publishers and advertisers.
Under the new rules average circulation includes a publication's paid and verified print and digital circulation, including any branded editions.
Newspaper circulation has been declining for decades, but the pace had been picking up in recent years, amid a reader shift to a range of digital media and as some publishers have drastically curtailed the distribution of their papers or abandoned print partially or all together for the Internet.
The Wall Street Journal had average weekday circulation of 2.1 million, on par with figures reported for the period ended Sept. 30. The Journal had moved past Gannett Co.'s (GCI) flagship USA Today as the largest U.S. newspaper in 2009.
USA Today's circulation kept its No. 2 spot with 1.8 million readers. The figure also was on par with the earlier period. USA Today had been the biggest paper in the U.S. for a decade. The slump in business travel meant fewer copies of USA Today were sold to hotels, one of the paper's historic strengths.
The New York Times (NYT) kept the No. 3 rank at 916,911 weekday readers but had the highest Sunday circulation, at 1.4 million. The company had weekday circulation of 876,638 copies under the old rules in the earlier period.
News Corp. (NWSA, NWS.AU) is the owner of this newswire, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post. The Post's weekday circulation ranked No. 8 nationally, with weekday circulation of 522,874.
-By Tess Stynes, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2481; Tess.Stynes@dowjones.com