Audit Bureau of Circulations

ABC’s New Math Excites Publishers

Extra! Circulation numbers bump up for some newspapers. But wait, there’s a twist in the plot.The start of November means there’s always a fresh dump of circulation figures produced by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC). Last week The Oregonian, for example, claimed 1.6 percent growth over a year ago for the April-to-September time period.

The Portland daily was ranked 21st in the nation's top 25 newspapers, right behind the Seattle Times in 20th place.

But wait. There is a twist. The growth for The O and other major dailies is because paid online subscriptions may be counted along with the latest count for print circulation. Online page views don’t count, but paid e-subscriptions — however that is defined — do count as part of the total number.

The changes in accreditation went into effect last year. The agency warns against putting too much stock in comparing this year’s to last year’s figures as a result of the change. Still media trend watchers are taking note.

“Some of the nation’s largest newspapers are recording gains in digital circulation as print circulation continues to weaken, a trend that is helping to ease what has become a relentless overall decline in recent years,” reports Jeremy W. Peters in the New York Times’ Media Decoder blog.