Monday, October 26, 2009

News-Press Circulation Numbers Continue to Drop, Again

The Santa Barbara News-Press, a newspaper that has been in labor turmoil ever since July 2006, saw its daily (Monday through Friday) circulation drop by 15.2%, according to figures released today by the Audit Bureau of Circulation.

For the six-month period ending September 30 of this year the News-Press' daily circulation was 27,576, down from 32,534 for the same period a year ago.

Sunday circulation at the News-Press also saw a decline, 27,727 copies compared to 33,576 a year ago, a loss of 17%.

The News-Press saw a bigger decline in its circulation numbers than newspapers to the north of us. The Santa Maria Times showed a decline of 12.6% in its daily circulation. The Tribune in San Luis Obispo had a decline of 5.2%.

To the south of us, The Ventura County Star Free Press lost a whopping 20.1% of its circulation from a year ago, dropping from 83,106 a year ago to the 66,401 that was reported for the six-month period ending this past September 30.

Further south, the Los Angeles Times reported its daily circulation is off 11% to 657,467 and 6.7% on Sunday to 983,702.

So, why does the News-Press continue to shed readers faster than most of the neighboring papers?

Well, within the last six months they increased the newsstand price of the paper from $.50 to $.75 for a daily paper and from $1.50 to $2.00 per copy for the Sunday edition.

Then, there's the fact that owner Wendy McCaw and her boyfriend Arthur von Wiesenberger, who share the duties of "co-publisher" of the paper, don't have backgrounds or experience in daily newspapers. Hence, there's a lack of seasoned management overseeing the business operations of the paper.

Then finally, there's the inescapable fact that McCaw has created untold quantities of bad will between herself and the Santa Barbara community over her editorial policies with the paper.

All that on top of the fact that newspaper readership across the country is dwindling.
© 2009 by Craig Smith and