Anti-gravity Trick: Fighting Falling Circulation

It's no secret that paid circulation publications have been weathering some tough times recently, stemming from falling circulation rates and decreasing advertiser investment. In the general market, paid circulation for dailies contracted 2.8%. in 2005. Even Hispanic newsppapers, which had been the crutches of a hobbled industry, have begun to give way under the enormous pressure of meeting both advertiser and consumer demands.

In the past year, some papers have decided to transition to free circulation, like Hoy in NYC (Tribune, Daily, Spanish, 60,000) and El Nuevo Dia Orlando (Grupo Ferre Rangel, Daily, Spanish/Eng, 25,000).

Others have maintained their paid circulation model and seemingly paid the price: According to Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC), LA's La Opinion's (Impremedia, Los Angeles) daily circulation slipped 2.5 % to 121,572 copies daily, and Miami's El Nuevo Herald's circulation fell 2.8% to 83,178.

However, a significant and positive exception of the paid circulation crowd seems to be NYC's own El Diario La Prensa (Impremedia, Daily, Spanish, 53,090) which, despite its paid circulation model, posted significant gains in both circulation and readership. According to the audit report, the paper's daily circulation jumped 5.8% to 53,090, and its weekend numbers grew 8.4% to 36,712 copies. Its readership surged 25% over last year's figures, clocking in at 266,000 daily readers, according to Scarborough.

Publisher and CEO Rossana Rosado attributed the growth to a number of developments, such as the launch of the paper's entertainment and weekend guide, La Vibra, which coincided with the Latin Grammy's. She also credited the sweeping editorial coverage of this year's FIFA World Cup with driving up sales. Beyond that, Rosado stated, it was the superior editorial quality – which has garnered various awards – that was responsible for the paper's growth.

And so the trend continues that while paid circulation figures continue to go down, free circulation figures climb, causing one to wonder: just how much is that $0.05 cover price worth