AJC Circulation down 8.73%

According to Drudge, newspaper circulation is down nationwide. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is no exception losing 8.73% of it’s readers during the last year, second only to the San Francisco Chronicle in percentage lost (among top 20 American newspapers).

How much of this is caused by the internet with it’s ability to read newspapers and other sources of information from all over the world? One can read the entire AJC online without spending a dime – so why subscribe? And where does that leave newspapers? Do they have a future in this digital age?

13 comments

  1. GAWire says:

    While circulation is indeed down; I wonder how much organizations like the AJC make on online advertising. I know there isn’t as much revenue generated from online ads compared to circulation in a big city; however, they do bring in $, and these organizations are also realizing that print media is phasing out. In having met with media ad dep’ts in the past, I can certainly attest to fees that should definitely generate considerable revenue!

    The WSJ does not offer free access to their website; however, after reading it everday, I wonder why I would ever need to read other publications, whether they are free or not. I do peak in the AJC at least once a day for local news, but going back to Buzz’s original point . . . why pay for it?!?

  2. I agree, the WSJ is very good. It is the only paper I subscribe to, and not the print version but the online edition. If the AJC can make up for the fall in print subs with online ad revenue, I’m not sure I would call it a bad year, but I’m also not sure they have.

    One angle for smaller market papers like the AJC: if they scoop a story that has national implications, thanks to the internet everyone in the country will be reading the AJC story on their website, giving them ad revenue. In the old days before the internet, if the AJC scooped a story you’d hear about it on the nightly news or maybe read an AP wire story about it in your local paper — but the AJC would see none of that money.

    Thinking ahead to the Reed campaign as well as to the Frist stories the AJC has broken this year, maybe the internet will ultimately be a good thing for the paper, allowing it to devote less time to exurban pandering (all of the Gwinnett focused sections — the county gets its own opinion page???) and more time to good reporting.

  3. spaceygracey says:

    Why stop at newspapers? Preparing for monster heating bills this winter, I streamlined some expenses recently. One of the first “extras” to go was the boutique cable package. It was an easy cutback; I haven’t watched in a single premium channel in weeks. If I want entertainment, I go out to the movies. If I want news and info, I go to the Internet — a lot. And I don’t think I’m alone in doing so.

  4. macongop says:

    My subscription to the Maconga Teletrash, oops, I mean the Macon Telegraph ran out 3 months ago, yet they still bring one every morning. No wonder subscription rates are way down. If I want new, I just log online and check out Drudgereport, Foxnews, NFL.com and NASCAR.com, isn’t that all there is?

  5. Ben King says:

    spacey – right now I don’t have HBO, but when I did, holy crap. I tell you what, if I could have HBO, ESPN, and whatever channel has Seinfeld re-runs, I don’t know that I’d need any other channels.

    HBO is definately worth the cost, for me. Deadwood? Entourage? plus the movies? man… I’d get rid of the ‘cable plus’ with the twenty versions of MTV, Spike, USA, scale back to ‘cable basic’ and get HBO instead.

  6. TigerLily says:

    It is an interesting trend to observe. I have watch my neighbors switch from the AJC to the NYT (blue bag is hard to miss). For subscibers, there isn’t much to choose from. There is no “real” local competition for the AJC that is delievered to the doorstep. The best competition is the Web. Where else can you read papers from across the nation as well as get news from cable sites such as Fox and MSNBC? In our household, there is little reason to have a hard copy subscription except to get the sports and the coupons on Sunday.

  7. You are actually supposed to be able to pick and choose your cable channels but I think it’s about as expensive as just getting the whole package, unfortunately. I guess to clarify that I $ub to the WSJ for the market news and other news features, not the editorial page. I get my editorial bearings from the Daily Worker’s opinion pages, where else?

  8. memberg says:

    The issue of AJC.com supplanting paying subscribers is largely a red herring. The circulation is so pathetically low already, I’m sure that Cox is glad for every online reader they can get, even at the “expense” of losing a paying subscriber. (I put “expense” in quotes to indicate that I wouldn’t be surprised if the benefit of a new online reader outweighs the cost of losing a paying subscriber.)

    As to the larger issue of newspapers in the digital age, we Atlantans are missing a key cultural platform for newspaper reading – the subway. For the foreseeable future, print newspapers will continue to thrive in NYC, London, DC, Boston, and any other city with comparably high subway ridership.

  9. GAWire says:

    “Healthy, wealthy, and wise” but not in that order, right? When I need a laugh, I read Pravda b/c those folks actually think they are real journalists, so I guess that can constitute healthy. As far as wealthy goes, I refer you back to the WSJ – reading the Journal is like reading a very interesting, applicable and informative book everyday, and it can sometimes require some extensive knowledge to understand, which perhaps explains the viewership.

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