Circulation Disputation

There’s no bigger story for the local dailies than their circulation figures, and, boy, do the two tell different tales today.

Boston Herald:

Herald sees readership spike

The reach of the Boston Herald is greater than ever before as the brand of its quality journalism is showing strong growth across digital platforms.

The numbers tell the story: Print readership up 15 percent daily over last year to nearly a half-million. A whopping 47 percent growth in weekly e-edition readers. An impressive 2.6 million unique visitors a month to, an 18 percent spike over last year.

“The Herald’s audience is stronger than ever — and that success is clearly the result of a relevant news-gathering operation and a point of view that starts the conversation every day,” said Herald President and Publisher Patrick J. Purcell.

(Point of view, yes; relevant – not so sure.)

Those are some intriguing numbers, especially the “whopping 47 percent growth in weekly e-edition readers,” considering that (as best the hardreading staff can tell) even the Herald’s 17 home subscribers have to pay for the e-paper. Not to mention the whopping increase could be from two to three (give or take).

The Herald piece uncharacteristically lacks the traditional broadsheet broadside twisting the Globe’s numbers, but it does feature this statement from auto maven Ernie Boch Jr.: “I consider Bostonians lucky to be in a two-paper town.”

Hey – that’s what we say!

The Herald’s numbers are even more intriguing when you factor in this Globe piece:

Digital sales help spur 12% jump in Globe circulation

Boston Herald falls nearly 15 percent

The Boston Globe’s daily circulation rose nearly 12 percent during the six-month period that ended Sept. 30, buoyed by growth in digital subscriptions, according to an organization that tracks newspaper readership.

The Globe’s circulation, including subscriptions to, increased 11.9 percent to 230,351, compared with the same six months in 2011, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

The Globe’s Sunday circulation, including digital subscriptions, grew 3.4 percent to 372,541.

The Boston Herald’s daily circulation fell below 100,000 in the period. The tabloid’s circulation declined by 14.9 percent to 96,860, compared to same period a year ago, according to the bureau. The Herald’s Sunday circulation was 77,764, down 9.4 percent.

Just to clarify:

1) The Globe includes digital subscriptions in its figures, but just print copies in the Herald’s. 2) The Herald cites readership, and seems to be saying that five people read every copy of the feisty local tabloid.

As best we can tell.

Anyway, here are the Audit Bureau of Circulations numbers, which include the Globe but not the Herald.

Read ’em and weep.

(For more detail, check Dan Kennedy’s post at Media Nation.)


2 Responses to Circulation Disputation

  1. Curmudgeon says:

    The Herald’s site design tends to to be more user-friendly than the Globe’s.

    I rarely use for local news.

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