PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - The Providence Journal's weekday circulation fell by 10 percent over the past year as the state's largest daily watched its readership continue to shrink.
The Journal sold 96,595 copies on weekdays during the six months ended Sept. 30, down from 106,861 in the same period last year, the Audit Bureau of Circulations said Monday.
The Journal's circulation has been sliding for more than two decades, Audit Bureau records show. The paper's average weekday circulation was 203,647 in 1990; 163,122 in 2000; and 96,595 this year.
The Journal's weekend circulation also shrank over the past year, the Audit Bureau said.
The number of printed Journals sold on Sundays fell from 154,300 to 137,339 in the six months ended March 30. The number sold on Saturdays fell from 139,554 to 123,761. The number of unique visitors to Projo.com also declined compared with a year earlier, from 1.26 million to 1.19 million.
The double-digit decrease in The Journal's circulation during the latest reporting period – down 10 percent Monday-Friday and 11 percent on weekends – was worse than the average among newspapers tracked by the Audit Bureau.
Nationwide, daily average circulation for the 635 papers dropped 5 percent during the six months ended Sept. 30, a slower pace than the 8.7 percent drop in the six months ended March 30. Sunday circulation fell 4.5 percent.
The nation's top newspaper by circulation was News Corp.'s Wall Street Journal, with just over 2 million subscribers, 450,000 of whom pay for the electronic edition. It was the only major paper to report an increase in paid readership.
USA Today was No. 2 with a weekday circulation of 1.8 million, followed by The New York Times with 877,000.
Last week, Journal publisher Howard Sutton told staff the paper is preparing a redesigned Projo.com that will debut next year which will no longer offer all the paper's print content for free; instead, the website will only give summaries of some local stories to non-subscribers. The Journal also plans to launch iPhone and iPad apps next year.
Other local newspapers also lost readers in the April 1 to Sept. 30 period, the Audit Bureau said.
In Rhode Island, The Woonsocket Call's daily average circulation fell from 7,391 to 6,915, while The Pawtucket Times' fell from 5,615 to 5,141.
In Massachusetts, The Sun Chronicle's daily circulation declined from 16,026 to 14,960; the Fall River Herald News' dipped from 16,547 to 16,161; and the Taunton Gazette's went from 7,516 to 6,998.
The Standard-Times of New Bedford changed how it reports sales, making comparisons difficult, but said its daily average circulation was 24,723 through Sept. 30. The paper also said its has sold 1,101 electronic subscriptions since putting its website behind a paywall last January.
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