Charlotte Observer circulation way down

McClatchy recently released circulation numbers for its papers, and all the numbers went down. In the past six months, the Charlotte Observer lost more than 20,000 daily subscribers over the past six months, bringing total circ down to 167,585 (source).

The signs-of-the-apocalypse folks are out in full force, of course. But this might not be so much bad as simply a change. It’s expensive to print and deliver newspapers–in the short term at least, perhaps this will mean fewer layoffs (the Observer has also offered buyouts to almost its entire staff). Of course, this doesn’t make the ad reps’ jobs any easier and it doesn’t help the deafening murmur that newspapers are growing irrelevant (a murmer with which I wholeheartedly disagree). But it’s entirely possible that many of those subscriptions were going unread–perhaps they were business subscriptions at businesses which have shed employees. Or perhaps they were readers who only subscribed for the comics or the crossword or out of habit. Maybe those folks are going online now and still getting news and information from the Observer. Or maybe they’re reading Charlotte magazine.

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