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Circulation falls again at ProJo, dailies

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PROVIDENCE – The Providence Journal’s circulation continued to fall by double digits in the latest six-month reporting period, according to figures released Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

The Journal’s average weekday circulation fell 19 percent to 127,025 copies in the six months ended March 31. The paper’s weekday circulation was 156,982 in the six months ended March 31, 2009.

The Journal’s advertising-heavy Sunday edition sold 141,688 copies, down 17.3 percent from 171,231 a year earlier.

The Journal’s Saturday circulation fell below 100,000 for the first time in memory, declining 18 percent to 99,573 copies, the Audit Bureau said. Two decades ago, The Journal had nearly 200,000 daily readers.

The Journal said it had a combined print and online readership of 706,985 people in March in the Providence-New Bedford television market defined by Nielsen Media Research. The paper also reported 1.24 million unique visitors to its website.

Although its circulation numbers continue to slide, The Journal has been making more money off its remaining subscribers. The paper’s circulation revenue reached $33 million last year, up 19 percent since 2006, according to its parent company, A. H. Belo Corp.

The two other newspapers in Rhode Island that disclosed figures were The Pawtucket Times and The Woonsocket Call.

The Times said weekday circulation fell 8 percent to 5,321 copies in the six months ended March 31, down 8 percent compared with a year earlier. Saturday circulation fell 7.3 percent to 7,192 copies.

The Call said Monday-Saturday circulation fell 6.2 percent to 7,158 and Sunday circulation declined 5.5 percent to 10,130.

The story was similar across the border in Massachusetts.

The Standard-Times of New Bedford said weekday circulation fell 11.7 percent to 25,216 copies; Sunday circulation fell 8.6 percent to 26,940; and Saturday circulation dropped 8.2 percent to 25,128 in the six months ended Sept. 30.

In January, The Standard-Times began charging people who want to read more than 10 stories per month on its website.

The Herald News of Fall River said Monday-Saturday circulation fell 2.2 percent to 17,032 copies. Sunday circulation declined 5 percent to 17,206.

The Sun Chronicle of Attleboro said Monday-Saturday circulation dropped 8.2 percent to 15,670 copies, while its Sunday circulation declined 7.4 percent to 16,635.

The state’s largest paper, The Boston Globe, said weekday circulation fell 23.2 percent to 232,432 and Sunday circulation shrank 18.8 percent to 378,949.

Nationwide, the Audit Bureau said average weekday newspaper circulation declined 8.7 percent in the six-month period that ended March 31. That was an improvement from the prior reporting period ended Sept. 30, when average circulation fell 10.6 percent.

Among the nation’s largest papers, the San Francisco Chronicle suffered the largest decline, with weekday circulation shrinking 22.7 percent through March 31. The Wall Street Journal continued to be the nation’s largest paper, with 2.1 million copies sold on weekdays.

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