The paper’s print circulation was 96,656 on Sundays during the six months ended March 31, down by 12,860 or almost 12% from the same period last year, the Alliance for Audited Media reported Thursday. The advertising-heavy Sunday paper is the most lucrative edition of the week for most publications.
The Journal also sold an average of 72,023 traditional print editions on weekdays between Oct. 1 and March 31, a decrease of 7,221 or 9% since March 2013.
The Journal said its total average circulation on Thursdays was 235,539 when print and digital “branded editions” are added, which would include its free ProjoExpress publication, an increase of almost 5%. The audit group changed its rules in 2011 to count those.
Saturday print circulation fell by 10,744 copies – from 98,651 to 87,907 – as of March 31, the group said.
ProvidenceJournal.com had 1.4 million unique visitors as of March 31, up from 1.16 million in the six months ended Sept. 30, the audit group said. The Journal reported about 2,400 digital subscriptions in the October-March period, as well.
Like most newspapers, The Journal has been attracting fewer readers in print for decades, though the pace has picked up in recent years as readers migrate to the Web. Its average weekday circulation has fallen by nearly two-thirds, from 203,647 in 1990 to 163,122 in 2000, 101,123 in 2010 and 72,023 this year.
The Journal’s total revenue ticked up to $21.2 million during the first quarter, a nearly 3% increase from the previous year, A.H. Belo disclosed in a regulatory filing Wednesday. While the paper’s ad revenue dropped 70% from 2005 to 2013, it has offset some of those losses by raising prices and printing other publications.
A.H. Belo said The Journal’s home-delivery revenue rose during the first quarter “due to an effective rate increase of 19.1%, offset by a volume decline of 10.5%.” The Journal’s single-copy paid print circulation fell in the first quarter “due to a volume decline of 8.3%, partially offset by an effective rate increase of 1.6%,” the company said.
The new circulation numbers arrive as Journal parent company A.H. Belo continues an effort to sell the paper that was made public in December. A top executive there said Tuesday the sale process is now at the midway point and “going very well.”
Howard Sutton, The Journal’s longtime publisher, and Karen Bordeleau, the paper’s executive editor, did not respond to a request for comment about the sale process earlier this week.
Also in Rhode Island, The Pawtucket Times’ print circulation on weekdays rose from 3,919 to 4,204 compared with a year earlier, but on Saturdays fell from 5,788 to 5,505, according to the auditing group.
The Woonsocket Call, which sold 5,456 editions on weekdays and 7,567 on Sundays in the period ended Sept. 30, did not provide its numbers for the March 31 period in time to be included, the report said. Another daily, the Newport Daily News, doesn’t report circulation in the semiannual Alliance for Audited Media reports.
Local newspapers in Massachusetts also reported their latest circulation numbers on Thursday.
The Sun Chronicle sold 12,233 print editions Monday through Saturday and 12,923 on Sundays, plus 253 electronic editions, during the six months ended March 31, according to the alliance.
The Fall River Herald News sold 11,981 copies plus 147 e-editions Monday through Saturday and 13,594 plus 89 e-editions on Sundays.
The New Bedford Standard-Times sold 18,100 print copies plus 2,176 e-editions Monday through Saturday and 20,482 print copies plus 836 e-editions on Sundays.
The Taunton Gazette sold 5,518 print copies plus 124 e-editions Monday through Saturday and 6,099 print copies plus 47 e-editions on Sundays.