WASHINGTON (AFP) - The New York Times, boosted by gains in digital readers, rose to the No. 2 spot among daily newspapers in the United States in a sector still struggling with falling print circulation, industry figures showed on Tuesday.
Overall circulation for 593 US newspapers for the period to March 31 fell 0.7 per cent from a year earlier, and Sunday circulation for 519 newspapers surveyed dropped 1.4 per cent, according to the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM).
Digital readership, which includes access on mobile devices and websites, made further gains in the past year and now accounts for 19.3 per cent of US daily newspaper circulation, from 14.2 per cent in March 2012, AAM said.
The Wall Street Journal remained the No. 1 daily with a total print and digital circulation of 2.38 million, the figures showed. That reflects a drop of some 86,000 in print and a gain of more than 300,000 digital readers.
The New York Times moved ahead of USA Today to the No. 2 position, with a combined circulation of more than 1.8 million. That included the addition of some 325,000 digital readers, lifting the total to over one million. That offset a loss of nearly 50,000 in print from a year ago, according to AAM.
USA Today, with a total circulation of 1.67 million, doubled the number of digital readers to nearly 250,000 but lost more than 275,000 in print.
The rest of the industry showed a continuation of the trend in recent years of declining print readership and some gains in digital, which generally produces less revenue.
More than 300 US dailies now have some type of paywall, while many allow some free or "metered" content, according to recent surveys.
The Washington Post, one of the last major US newspapers to offer its content free of charge online, is set to begin its paywall later this year.
AAM said The Los Angeles Times remained the No. 4 US daily with a combined circulation of 653,000, followed by the New York Daily News (516,000), New York Post (500,000), Washington Post (474,000) and Chicago Sun-Times (470,000).
The No. 9 daily was the Denver Post (416,000) and tenth was the Chicago Tribune (414,000).
AAM said it was studying a proposal to eliminate the five-day average for print circulation to be able to include newspapers which have cut their print editions. Several have reduced home delivery options of print just three days a week.
The New York Times remained the top Sunday newspaper with total average circulation of just over 2.3 million, including more than one million digital readers, according to AAM.