Vineyard newspapers report circulation figures

The Vineyard Gazette building remains unchanged but ownership is new. — File photo by Susan Safford

The Vineyard Gazette’s total average circulation over the past 12 months continued a slow but steady decline, the newspaper reported last week. A slight bump in newsstand sales and on-Island subscriptions was not enough to counter a drop in the Gazette’s core off-Island readership.

The numbers were reported in a circulation statement published in the Friday, October 7 issue of the Edgartown newspaper.

The Gazette’s total average paid on-Island circulation, including subscriptions and newsstand sales, was 4,898 copies over the past 12 months.

Off-Island subscriptions dropped from 3,825 to 3,589. In 2009, the number was 4,005. On-Island subscriptions increased from 1,816 to 1,846.

The biggest reported increase was in newsstand sales that, on average, improved from 2,928 to 3,052 over the preceding 12-month period.

In an accompanying news story, Gazette publisher Jane Seagrave said the decline in paid print circulation this year mirrored a national trend. Ms. Seagrave said the reported numbers do not show a “double-digit increase in traffic” to the Gazette website over the same period. She provided no numbers to define the web traffic increase. The Gazette website requires a paid subscription.

Ms. Seagrave said that while the Gazette would continue to publish in print “as long as we have readers and advertisers who still love newsprint,” the newspaper would increasingly focus on its digital products.

The print figures were included in the Edgartown weekly’s U.S. Postal Service Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation, published annually in October, a requirement of publications mailed at second-class postal rates.

This has been a year of change for the Vineyard Gazette. Last November, the Reston family, owners since the late 1960s, sold the paper and its Edgartown headquarters to Jerome and Nancy Kohlberg, longtime seasonal Island residents who live in Mt. Kisco, New York.

Mr. Kohlberg is a financier widely acknowledged as a leveraged buyout pioneer, first with Bear Stearns and later Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts.

After he resigned from KKR in 1987, Mr. Kohlberg founded his own investment firm, Kohlberg & Company, now run by his son, with headquarters in Mt. Kisco.

In March, the Kohlbergs announced that they had hired Ms. Seagrave, a New York business executive with the Associated Press, to be Gazette publisher.

The 2011 postal statement also included figures for the number of copies of a single issue published nearest to the statement filing date. The Gazette chose August 29, for its single issue numbers.

Total paid distribution was 10,542 on August 19, a drop from the 11,125 distributed on August 21, 2010. Both issues coincided with coverage of President Obama’s Vineyard vacation.

The Martha’s Vineyard Times, the Vineyard Haven-based weekly, is delivered free to every Island postal customer, to inns and hotels, and sold at newsstands.

This week,The Times was delivered to 11,200 Island postal customers: Chilmark (750); West Tisbury (1,125); Vineyard Haven (4,150); Edgartown (3,025); and Oak Bluffs (2,150). Another 2,264 were delivered to 35 inns and to news outlets for sale.

For the same week in 2010, The Times delivered to 11,250 Island postal customers: Chilmark (800); West Tisbury (1,125); Vineyard Haven (4,150); Edgartown (3,000); and Oak Bluffs (2,175). Another 2,443 were delivered to inns and to news outlets for sale.

In August,, The Times website, attracted more than 300,000 visits, including more than 143,000 unique visitors, a figure up 40 percent over 2010.