KC Star, Wichita Eagle see circulation gains; Capital-Journal continues readership drain

Screen shot 2013-11-13 at 8.42.06 PMThe latest circulation figures from the Alliance of Audited Media show a mixed bag, with the Kansas City Star gaining 4 percent on Sundays and 3 percent on weekdays. The Wichita Eagle turned its fortunes around with a 17 percent jump in Sunday readers. The Topeka Capital-Journal, on the other hand, has seen a stunning loss in readership over the last year: 33 percent on Sundays and a 34 percent on weekdays.

(See September’s figures)

The AAM figures include print and digital subscriptions, and covers the time period from September through March 31. Newspapers, of course, are facing tough times, but there are some signs of light: circulation revenue is increasing across the industry, though overall ad revenue continues to decline. McClatchy, the parent company of The Star and Eagle, reports its digital revenue is now is increasing, and nearly 42 percent of its ad revenue comes from “non-traditional” sources.

The Kansas City Star reported its Sunday circulation as 263,288, up from its last figure, 254,111, a boost of 9,117 or more than 4 percent. A year ago its Sunday circ was 280,790. Its average Monday through Friday circulation is 175,833, up 3 percent from September’s 169,936, but down from last year’s 180,283.

The Topeka Capital-Journal, which did not report its numbers during the last period, said its Sunday circulation was 31,777 versus last year’s 36,940, a 16 percent loss in readership. It continues a decline in readership, marked by a 22 percent loss between last year and 2012. It reported its average weekday circulation as 26,468 versus last year’s 30,845, also a 16 percent loss. The C-J has lost 33 percent Sunday circulation in the last year, and 34 percent of its average weekday readership.

The Wichita Eagle reversed a steep decline and gained a significant number of  Sunday readers, reporting 99,115 subscribers, up from September’s 82,291 and last year’s 88,297.  That’s a 17 percent gain. On weekdays, it also gained readership, up nearly 3 percent, reporting a circulation of 60,454 against the fall’s 58,736, but still down from last year’s 64,656.

The Lawrence Journal-World’s Sunday circulation is down about 7 percent, standing at 24,713, down from 26,407 in September and 24,992 a year ago. Its average weekday circulation is 21,245, down slightly from September’s 21,711, and last year’s 23,074. That’s 2 percent drop from the fall.

The St. Joseph News-Press reported a Sunday circulation of 25,608, down from September’s 26,748 and last March’s 27,485, a 4 percent decline. Its average weekday circulation is 23,596, slightly up from September’s 23,551 and last year’s 24,606.

The Springfield News Leader said its Sunday circ is 49,052, down about 5 percent from the fall’s 51,4012 and last year’s 50,751. Its average weekday circulation is 30,201, compared to its last reported circulation of 32,363, a 7 percent decline. A year ago it was 33,456.

The Joplin Globe, which also didn’t report last fall’s numbers, said its Sunday circulation is 25,184 against last year’s 26,542, a 5 percent decrease. Its average weekday circulation is 19,606 versus 21,373, a 9 percent dip. Joplin was named one of the country’s fastest shrinking cities following the 2011 tornado that devastated the town.

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One comment

  1. jimmycsays

    Good job on this, Alex, and thanks for the thorough, regional report…Despite the bump from the fall figures, it is hard to see this as very good news for The Star. Using your numbers, Sunday circulation of 263,288 is still more than six percent lower than it was at this time a year ago. Just as with corporate financial reports, I think the best basis of comparison for newspaper circulation is year to year rather than one six-moth period to the next.

    Jim Fitzpatrick

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