October 30th, 2012
Chart circulation

The blog site Mediakc.com is reporting that circulation at the Kansas City Star has dropped by 7% on weekdays and fully 11% on Sundays, according to the latest figures by the Audit Bureau of Circulation.

The McClatchy-owned newspaper reported an overall circulation of 183,307 (M-F), and 275,784 for Sundays.

“That’s a precipitous drop from the figures reported in March, which showed a weekday circulation of 200,365 and a Sunday circulation of 310,487,” noted the blog.

A year ago, The Star reported a weekday circulation of 199,222 and a Sunday circulation of 300,450. That’s an 8 percent drop in Sunday circulation from a year ago, and an 11 percent drop from six months ago, which saw a dramatic jump in Sunday circulation.

In September 2010, the Star had a Sunday circulation of 290,302 and a weekday circulation of 206,441.

“E-editions of The Star contribute to its circulation numbers,” reported the blog. “Sunday e-edition circulation is 23,730; weekday is 26,660. But that’s also a drop from the March figures, which reported 35,207 edition subscribers on Sundays and 35,725 on weekdays.”

The Star recently announced that it will be implementing a new Paywall to charge customers for digital content.

7 Responses

  1. Rick Nichols says:

    If accurate, these figures don’t bode well for the paper any way you slice it – all the more reason for Mr. Gusewelle to come clean with his readers and, if necessary, deliver an apology for the behavior he apparently engaged in the other day. Yeah, it’s the economy, stupid, but there are things a lot of these papers could be doing differently to make themselves more attractive to both current and would-be subscribers.

  2. Zack says:

    I predict that the Star will lose another 10% of its 7 day-per-week subscribers because of extra fee tacked on for the electronic edition. The Star elected to make the combined print/electronic subscription the default selection, which will alienate many who might rightly feel abused by having to affirmatively opt-out.

  3. Dan says:


    Beware of the unintended consequences. The paywall strategy is an act of desperation and a modern-day recipe for disaster. The concept of monetizing a business with subscription revenue is dying a slow death.
    Our youth will not pay. They have grown up in a world where everything online is “free”. Perhaps the Star will rethink the paywall strategy after they witness the impending website traffic nosedive. The dismal online ad revenue will plummet to even lower levels. This is coming from one of the few legitimate news organizations that continue to generate antiquated pop-up ads and alienate their current online visitors.
    The Star needs to build a world class website and embrace their online visitors by providing an invaluable online experience. They should demonstrate their excellence and encourage (not discourage) the use of the site. In its present form Kansascity.com is a subpar site at best. It’s hard to use and “search” is worthless. This paywall strategy may actually kill it.

    • Susan says:

      So Dan, how do you propose to generate revenue to sustain an “invaluable” online experience? (And if youth won’t pay, let them learn some expensive lessons in ignorance.)

      I pay $7.95 a month for the E-Star and don’t even live in KC. Phuzzle alone (not even part of the subscription deal) is almost worth that price to me (squirrel!).

      Do you ever go to a restaurant and expect the owners to pay a lot of people to create and serve a meal to you, then demand that your meal be free? That’s what you are asking your newspaper to do, feed you free information. Go sit through your own city commission meetings to learn about property tax increases!

      Habits can change over time. People used to drink legally while driving. Without wearing seatbelts.

  4. Doug George says:

    My understanding is that the bulk of revenue for a newspaper is thru advertising. The fee a subscriber paid was for delivery of the paper to their home or to the convienience of a drop box. Since you can now receive the paper electronicallly thru the internet, there should be no cost of delivery or the cost of paper and print.
    It is now the challenge of the Star to generate enough revenue thru advertising in an electronic world. Those who adapt survive, those who dont die. Just ask the Pony Express and the telegraph.

  5. John says:

    It is now 5 days in a row that I have not received my paper. When I complained yesterday they actually delivered a paper today, the NY Times! Your business is doomed when you can’t do the simplest things correctly.

    I lived without the Star for 12 years when I lived at the Lake of the Ozarks and I can easily survive without it.

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