November 9, 2007...4:42 pm

Has the Herald-Sun stopped the bleeding?

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I sure hope so.

The Audit Bureau of Circulations released circulation figures on Monday for newspapers all across the country, and today it made some of the data freely accessible. It looks like there was some good news in there for Durham’s daily, The Herald-Sun, which has been leaching circulation ever since its purchase by Paxton Media Group in December 2004. At the time of the purchase the paper was circulating roughly 50,000 copies a day. The figures ABC made available today show a 7-day average circulation of 35,342. So how is that good news you ask? Well, that 7-day figure six months ago was 36,213. So the paper’s circulation only dropped2.4 percent during that reporting period. That’s a number that’s closer to industry averages and is much better than the huge drops the Herald-Sun had seen in the last few years on its way to that 35,000 figure.

To give it some perspective, since the Herald was sold, the Raleigh paper has stayed even at about 164,000 weekday circulation. That’s where the News & Observer was in 2005, and what it was reported at this week. Although it should be noted that figure is down7 percent from the 177,361 reported at the end of March.

Unfortunately, the same reporting figures show a significant drop for my old shop in Greensboro. The News & Record lost 7,098 weekday subscriptions from March to September, taking it down to 82,580. As I noted below, though, the March to September comparison isn’t always the best. The weekday figure from the 2005 Knight report was 90,436.

Update: The Charlotte Observer today (Sat. Nov. 10) has a story about circulation at newspapers throughout the Carolinas.

Tables with selected N.C. newspaper figures after the jump.

Triangle

Durham:

Newspaper Day March 31, 2007 Sept. 30, 2007
HERALD-SUN, DURHAM Sunday 37,436 36,513
HERALD-SUN, DURHAM Saturday 31,982 30,637
HERALD-SUN, DURHAM Mon-Friday 36,815 36,050

Raleigh:

Newspaper Day March 31, 2007 Sept. 30, 2007
NEWS & OBSERVER, RALEIGH Sunday 213,124 211,288
NEWS & OBSERVER, RALEIGH Saturday 172,824 171,905
NEWS & OBSERVER, RALEIGH Mon-Friday 177,361 164,300

Triad

Greensboro:

Newspaper Day March 31, 2007 Sept. 30, 2007
NEWS & RECORD, GREENSBORO Sunday 106,416 103,448
NEWS & RECORD, GREENSBORO Saturday 88,310 85,062
NEWS & RECORD, GREENSBORO Mon-Friday 89,672 82,580

High Point:

Newspaper Day March 31, 2007 Sept. 30, 2007
ENTERPRISE, HIGH POINT Sunday 24,380 23,317
ENTERPRISE, HIGH POINT Mon-Sat. 21,770 20,065

Winston-Salem:

Newspaper Day March 31, 2007 Sept. 30, 2007
JOURNAL, WINSTON-SALEM Sunday 94,543 93,193
JOURNAL, WINSTON-SALEM Saturday 91,503 90,056
JOURNAL, WINSTON-SALEM Mon-Friday 83,625 80,683

A disclaimer: these six-month comparisons aren’t the best way to look at newspaper circulation. A year-t0-year comparison is much better because circulation can be quite cyclical. For example many newspapers see a big bump in circulation around the holidays as people want to see what department store is offering the best Christmas deals, and they see drops in the summer months when lots of readers head to the beach. So it’d be better if I could compare September reporting figures to September reporting figures instead of the March numbers. Unfortunately in my transition to a new town, new computer, school instead of work, etc., I lost a huge file in which I had years worth of data for these papers. So the best I could do is the Power Reporting figures from 2005 compared with March 07 and September 07.

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