Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Most Newspapers, Cable TV Networks, Show Decline

The figures aren't as bad as speculation that L.A. Times circulation could dip to 750,000, but they still aren't good. Officially, Times circulation dropped 5.4% in the last six months to 851,832 daily. This compares to an overall 2.5% slide for the nation's 20 largest papers.

The New York Times gained circulation slightly, up 0.5% to 1,142,464, but San Francisco Chronicle circulation was down 15.6% to 398,246. Overall West Coast papers slid more than East Coast ones.

Meanwhile, new figures show that on an April to April basis, the big cable TV networks lost viewers. Fox, the leading network, was down 17% and woebegone CNN down a remarkable 35%.

Why is this? Is it that the news hasn't been as scintillating as last year, or is th e Internet gaining what the newspapers and cables are losing?

Interestingly, the Chicago Tribune, hometown of the nest of vipers now running the L.A. Times, was up 0.9% to 579,979 in circulation. It just may be that Dennis FitzSimons, the Tribune CEO, is spending more money soliciting subscriptions in Chicago than he is in Los Angeles.

Of the 20 largest papers, five gained circulation. Besides the New York Times and Chicago Tribune, those gaining were USA Today, Newark Star-Ledger and Detroit News.

The New York Times continues to gain largely because of its national distribution. The L.A. Timrs, by contrast, has dropped its national edition.

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