Spokesman-Review average daily circulation

Circulation data is surprisingly hard to find. The chart below should be considered approximate.

The numbers may come from different months of each year. Various source report different numbers – average daily subscribers, total Sunday edition subscribers  (about 20% more than the average daily subscribers), total estimated number of readers per print copy, total subscribers including print and digital – and so on – making it hard to find definitive numbers when we do not have access to the Audit Bureau of Circulations database.

Consequently, treat this chart as an approximate trend.

SRCirculationMultiple sources were used for this – too many to list. The 2006 data point is estimated as the average of 2005 and 2007.

The newspaper industry was hit by economic, technology and competitive threats.  The old model was to sell eyeballs to advertisers (paying for production of the day’s print edition) and sell subscriptions to readers (paying for delivery of the paper).

Craigslist, and later EBay and Amazon, obliterated the classified ad revenue, which was once said to account for 40% of a typical paper’s revenue, 20 years ago.

Internet distribution meant that a print edition was no longer needed and the cost of physical delivery fell close to zero (compared to the old “paper boy” delivery of a printed paper).

The Internet also created new kinds of competitors. TV stations began to deliver “print” news stories. Access to “news” became free.  In the recent bad economy, subscribers became former subscribers to save money.

New kinds of competitive “news” emerged, usually online. Many news consumers stopped reading traditional news and now read mostly what they see shared on social media, or watch from the nation’s non-news reporters like Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert.

Together this has created a terrifically tough market for the original printed newspaper business.

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