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Newsday circulation drops

Mirroring a nationwide trend, Newsday yesterday

reported declines in its weekday and Sunday circulations for the six months

ended in March compared with a year earlier.

The newspaper's average weekday circulation fell 2.7 percent to 427,771

copies, and Sunday sales were off 3.4 percent to 488,825.

The declines were slightly higher than the national average of 2.6 percent

on weekdays and 3.1 percent on Sunday, according to the Newspaper Association

of America, a trade group based in Virginia.

Newsday officials said the latest numbers represent a "stabilizing" of

circulation in the wake of an inflation scandal that forced the newspaper to

reduce its figures by about 15 percent in 2004-05.

"We are devoting our resources to acquiring and retaining higher quality

circulation, focusing on the readers who value Newsday most and are most valued

by our advertisers," said publisher Timothy P. Knight.

Newsday also has scaled back its presence in New York City to concentrate

on its Long Island base, and reduced the number of discounted copies given by

schools, hotels and other third parties to readers. "A substantial portion of

the decline in individually paid circulation was in regions other than Long

Island and Queens," said spokeswoman Deidra Parrish Williams.

Some advertisers weren't alarmed by the persistent circulation declines.

Bob Shamberg, chief executive of the ad agency Newspaper Services of America,

said Newsday and other papers continue to be potent forces.

"It's still a very large audience and the demographics are very attractive

to advertisers," he said, adding that newspaper readers generally have higher

incomes and more education and are more likely to own their homes compared with

the general population. He wasn't concerned about Newsday's Sunday circulation

falling below 500,000 copies.

Newsday has no plans to reduce ad rates. "There's no reason that today's

circulation report should impact advertising rates," said Parrish Williams.

"Many factors influence ad rates including market penetration, advertising

demand, readership, quality of audience, competition and circulation. Newsday

provides advertisers an exceptional value for reaching the Long Island market."

Among the metropolitan area's other dailies, only The New York Times saw an

increase from a year ago. Its average weekday circulation rose less than 1

percent to 1.14 million copies during the six months ended in March, primarily

due to its nationwide expansion. The New York Daily News was down 3.7 percent

to 708,477 and the New York Post fell less than 1 percent to 673,379.

The trend was similar for Sunday circulation. The Times was up less than 1

percent to 1.7 million copies, the Daily News fell 4.8 percent to 795,153 and

the Post was off 3.1 percent to 413,763.

The Wall Street Journal saw its daily circulation fall 1 percent to 2.05

million copies.

Declines across the U.S.

Most of the nation's top newspapers have seen drops in circulation.

Paid circulation as of March 31, 2006

Newspaper Daily circulation % change,6 months

USA Today 2,272,815 0.1%

The Wall Street Journal 2,049,786 -1.0

The New York Times 1,142,464 0.5

The Los Angeles Times 851,832 -5.4

The Washington Post 724,242 -3.7

The New York Daily News 708,477 -3.7

The New York Post 673,379 -0.7

The Chicago Tribune 579,079 0.9

The Houston Chronicle 513,387 -3.6

The Arizona Republic 438,722 -2.1

Newsday 427,771 -2.7

Star-Ledger of Newark 398,329 0.9

SOURCE: NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

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