The Journal sold an average of 90,085 copies on weekdays between April 1 and Sept. 30, a decrease of 6,510 from the same period a year earlier, the Audit Bureau of Circulations said Tuesday.
The Projo’s circulation on Sundays – the most lucrative edition of the week for most papers – totaled 129,024 copies, a drop of 8,315 since the September 2010 report.
Saturday circulation fell by 7,869 copies, from 123,761 to 115,892.
Like most newspapers, The Journal has been losing print readers for more than two decades, Audit Bureau records show. The paper’s average weekday circulation has fallen 45% over the past 11 years. It totaled 203,647 in 1990, 163,122 in 2000, and 101,123 in 2010.
The old Projo.com reported 1.2 million unique visitors as of Sept. 30, down from 1.4 million as of March 31, the Audit Bureau said.
The paper replaced Projo.com this month with a new site, ProvidenceJournal.com, that features short news briefs and a digital replica of the print edition. The paper plans to begin charging for the e-edition soon, partly in an effort to stem the loss of readers attracted by free news on the Web.
In the wake of price increases, circulation now accounts for about one-third of The Journal’s annual revenue. The paper’s circulation sales totaled $16.4 million in the first half of 2011, down from $17.4 million in the first half of 2010, SEC filings show. Total half-year revenue fell 6% to $46.1 million.
On an average week in 2010, 49% of adults in the Providence area – 608,727 in all – either read The Journal’s print edition, visited Projo.com, or did both, according to Scarborough Research. That was down from 54% of adults – 676,746 in all – in 2009.
Other local newspapers also reported their latest circulation numbers for the half-year ended Sept. 30 on Tuesday.
The Pawtucket Times’ weekday circulation totaled 4,766 and the Woonsocket Call’s totaled 6,352, with each publication selling about 2,000 more copies on Sundays, the Audit Bureau said.
In Massachusetts, The Sun Chronicle sold 14,216 copies on weekdays and 15,229 copies on Sundays, plus 29 electronic editions.
The Fall River Herald News sold 14,199 copies on weekdays and 15,681 on Sundays, plus 643 e-editions across the week.
The New Bedford Standard-Times sold 21,617 print copies plus 1,197 e-editions on weekdays and 23,807 print copies plus 808 e-editions on Sundays.
The Taunton Gazette sold 6,320 print copies plus 246 e-editions on weekdays and 7,245 print copies plus 44 e-editions on Sundays.
Update: The Poynter Institute’s Rick Edmonds says circulation figures from last year aren’t necessarily comparable to this year’s because the Audit Bureau recently liberalized its rules for counting readers.
More Providence Journal and A.H. Belo coverage:
- The new ProvidenceJournal.com just went live (Oct. 17)
- Financial picture is starting to get brighter at the Projo (Aug. 10)
- A.H. Belo’s surprising success amid the newspaper storm (May 18)
- Projo falls below $100M mark as half of ads evaporate (March 14)
- No reason for Belo to sell Projo with price at $51m (Dec. 28)
- Why the Projo’s finances are healthier than you think (Nov. 18)