Digital audience makes USA Today #1

The Alliance for Audited Media (AAM), the non-profit group that calculates the circulation of news publications for advertisers, released the latest numbers for the country’s top newspapers today.

Gannett-owned USA Today surpassed the Wall Street Journal as the number one most circulated daily newspaper, according to Capital New York and Poynter. The Monday to Friday circulation for USA Today jumped from 1.7 to 2.8 million in the last year.

However, according to Poynter, the reason for the extreme increase is because figures for mobile apps just started being reported by USA Today, even though digital readership has been factored into the calculations for other publications for some time.

Readers of USA Today’s digital versions increased from 86,307 to 1.5 million in the last year, according to the AAM, more than the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. However, USA Today’s digital content is completely free. It is one of the few newspapers without a paywall.

Wall Street Journal, now number two in circulation, has had a paywall since 1997. Their readership remained almost the same in the last year. The New York Times circulation, including digital increased nearly 18 percent in the last year.

The success for USA Today and NYT is all thanks to digital gain. The percentage of print subscribers has fallen between 6 to 14 percent year-over-year.

As Poynter points out, the findings by the AAM do not represent what they used to in this age of multiple methods of consuming news. What does and does not count in the numbers may vary, which doesn’t provide a concrete portrait of who has the biggest readership. As for USA Today, the only thing they did in the last year to skyrocket their circulation numbers is begin to count all their readers.

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