Wall Street Journal vs USA Today — Part II

October 14, 2009

Earlier this week I brought you the brewing circulation tussle between USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, and which paper will be able to claim to be the largest one in terms of circulation. You can read that here, but for the recap, here are the main points:

  • Editor & Publisher reports: USA Today was set to report that circulation fell “17% to 1.88 million for the six months ending September 2009, a drop of about 390,000 copies. The decline could also threaten USA Today’s position as the No. 1 newspaper in the country by circulation.”
  • The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press report that the Journal would be the largest paper by circulation, according to the Journal.
  • USA Today responds, “We are confident that even with this latest economic impact, USA TODAY will remain the nation’s number one newspaper in total print circulation when the ABC statements are released October 26th.”

As I wrote at the time, it seems that the Journal is counting print and online subscriptions together, and why not? Both are made up of paying subscribers. USA Today, of course, is counting printed newspapers.

We won’t know until their circulation numbers are published on October 26 what the final, comparable figures would be. But today, the Journal revealed its latest numbers:

Circulation was 2,024,269 as of the six-month period ending in September 2009, compared with 2,011,999 in the same period a year ago. Individually paid circulation, a number that advertisers like to watch, grew to 1,437,853. That’s impressive, having any growth at all.

As to how it stacks up to USA Today, and who will be able to claim to be the No. 1 newspaper publisher by circulation, we’re going to have to wait until the 26th.

(Photo: Reuters)

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