Vineyard Gazette says circulation fall off follows trend

Vineyard Gazette says circulation fall off follows trend

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Vineyard Gazette circulation numbers dropped across the board, according to a circulation statement for 2010 published Friday. The most noticeable drop was among the Edgartown newspaper’s core off-Island readers.

Off-Island subscriptions dropped from 4,005 to 3,825, while on-Island subscriptions fell from 1,871 to 1,816. Newsstand sales declined more modestly, from 2,955 to 2,928.

The figures, an average for the preceding 12 months, were included in the Edgartown weekly’s U.S. Postal Service Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation, published annually the first week in October, a requirement of publications mailed at second-class postal rates.

A page two story in the Gazette published on Friday, Oct. 8, “After two years rising, Gazette Sales slip slightly,” said “circulation fell sightly in 2010, following the trend seen in newspapers around the country.”

The Gazette’s own numbers tell a slightly different story than the headline would imply. In 2009, the newspaper’s paid subscriptions outside Dukes County dropped from 4,284 to 4,005, when compared with 2008 figures, and the number of newspapers mailed to Island postal customers dropped from 1,906 to 1,871. Only newsstand and counter sales increased, from 2,663 to 2,955 in 2009.

The Gazette’s total paid distribution dropped from 8,882 in 2009 to 8,648 in the most recent postal statement.

The 2010 postal statement also included figures for the average number of copies of a single issue published nearest to the statement filing date. The Gazette chose August 20, for its single issue numbers.

Although the front page featured a photo of the arrival of President Barack Obama, total paid distribution was 11,125 on August 20. A drop from the 11,922 distributed on August 21, 2009.

The postal statement lists the owners of the Gazette as Richard and Mary Jo Reston of Sarasota, Florida, Thomas B. Reston of Washington, D.C., and James B. Reston of Chevy Chase, Maryland.

The Times tracks its circulation figures weekly. Those figures and U.S. Post Office documentation of them are readily available, M.V. Times managing editor Nelson Sigelman said this week.

The Times is delivered free to every Island postal customer, inns, hotels and sold at newsstands. The Times circulation manager checks weekly with Island postmasters to determine delivery numbers.

One year ago, The Times was delivered to 11,825 Island postal customers. Another 3,500 newspapers were delivered to 35 inns and newsstands.

By comparison, on October 7, 2010, the comparable week, The Times was delivered to 11,450 Island postal customers . Chilmark numbers remained stable (800); West Tisbury (1,175 to 1,150), Vineyard Haven (4,500 to 4,300) and Edgartown (3,250 to 3,000) numbers dropped; and Oak Bluffs increased (2,100 to 2,200). Another 3,500 were delivered to 38 inns and newsstands.

Visits to mvtimes.com, The Times award winning website, increased 20 percent from 2009 to 2010, to 1.7 million visits annually.