AAM releases circ numbers; USAT maintains top spot

USA Today again held the top spot for total daily average circulation, according to the Alliance for Audited Media’s semiannual snapshot report on print and digital circulation of U.S. newspapers, released today.

Of the 610 U.S. dailies included in AAM’s report — which covers the six-month period from Sept. 30, 2013 through March 31, 2014 — the top three by total average circulation are USA Today, at 3,255,157, The Wall Street Journal, at 2,294,093 and The New York Times, at 2,149,012.

Three hundred of the newspapers reported a Monday-Friday average, while others reported multi-day averages. Five-hundred, thirty-one newspapers reported digital editions and 127 reported branded editions as part of total circulation, including The New York Times, which included 126,162 branded editions.

Average Monday-Friday circulation at NYT was 15 percent higher for the six months ending in March than it was in the same period the year before.

NYT said the weekday gains are largely attributed to its digital subscription packages and the addition of the International New York Times to the reporting data.

Circulation at USA Today, meantime, grew 94.4 percent year-over-year, including daily print, digital replica and digital non-replica. The gain was led by the branded local print editions included in 35 newspapers across the country as part of Gannett’s Project Butterfly, launched in September 2013.

Although still posting the second-highest circulation numbers, The Wall Street Journal fell 3.5 percent over the same period last year.

Around the country, other papers boasted higher circulation numbers than last year. The Orange County (Calif.) Register’s average Thursday–Sunday circulation rose 50 percent and Sunday circulation went up nearly 76 percent, a figure that was heavily boosted by 230,864 branded editions.

The Houston Chronicle, meantime, saw rise in average Monday-Friday circulation of just over 3 percent, however, average Sunday circulation fell nearly 6 percent.

In 2013, the AAM board agreed that a five-day average does not accurately represent circulation across all newspapers and should no longer be required. Because of the change to five-day averages, AAM does not post comparative U.S. rankings or industry averages.