Wednesday, April 30, 2008

News-Press Circulation Numbers Are In

In his online column that was posted yesterday, the Indy's Barney Brantingham asks; "What’s Ventura Got that We Don’t?"

How about, a daily newspaper that doesn't have declining circulation numbers?

I have obtained the figures for local newspapers which were released Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulation. For the six-month period ending March 31, 2008, the circulation of Wendy McCaw's News-Press for Monday through Friday was 35,061. The figure a year earlier was 37,730. That's a decrease of a little over 7%.

Circulation for the News-Press Sunday edition was 35,195, compared to 38,035 a year earlier. That's about a 7.5% decrease.

These figures, which the Audit Bureau of Circulation calls "FAS-FAX," compares year-to-year periods, is unaudited and is not a comparison to the previous six month reporting period. An industry insider who wishes to remain anonymous explained that there can be variations based on seasonal and other factors. So it's hard to know if the News-Press has seen improvement from the 33,755 for daily (Mon-Fri) circulation they reported in September of 2007.

Nevertheless, the News-Press appears to be suffering greater losses in circulation than its neighbors to the north and the south.

The Ventura County Star's circulation was 86,276 compared to 84,785 a year ago (an increase of 1.8%); Sunday circulation for that paper was 94,708 compared to 95,861 (a 1.2% decline).

To the north of us, The Santa Maria Times' number was 20,264, compared to 20,273 a year ago. That's a decline of a mere nine copies, so essentially there was no change. Sunday circulation was 19,964, compared to 20,026 a year ago, a decline of 62 copies or 0.3%

The San Luis Obispo Tribune's numbers were 35,885, compared to 37,407 a year ago (a 4% decline); Sunday was 41,794, compared to 42,619 (a 2% decline).

Read 'em and weep.

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Law Week activities, sponsored by the Santa Barbara County Bar Foundation, continue Thursday night with a 7 pm panel discussion on the "1st Amendment in the Internet Age." Panel members include former News-Press editor Jerry Roberts, Matt Kettmann, senior editor of the Santa Barbara Independent, media lawyer Michael Cooney and Superior Court Judge George Eskin. The moderator of the panel is yours truly. Location is the Santa Barbara College of Law, 20 E. Victoria in downtown Santa Barbara. The program is free.