Hiller spins LAT circ numbers

As LAO noted yesterday, the L.A. Times suffered a greater circulation drop the past six months than any of the top U.S. newspapers — and by far the most precipitous drop since 1998. In his message to the staff that follows, publisher David Hiller explains away the recent slide and talks up the web numbers and this past weekend's book festival. At Friday's book prizes, by the way, he talked about there being a "next year," so it sounds as if the festival will continue.

From: Hiller, David
Sent: Mon Apr 28
Subject: Books and Circulation

Hi folks,

Hope you all had a great weekend. I know you did if you went to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

What I heard most from our friends and neighbors (about 150,000 of them were there) were refrains of:

“Thank you Los Angeles Times.”

“This is our favorite thing of the year.”

From Kenny Turan’s kick off of the Book Prizes program on Friday night to Steve Lopez and co-authors reading their chapters of Birds of Paradise on Sunday afternoon—with hundreds of authors, musicians, chefs, poets, and singers in between—it was an amazing coming together of our community.

Our great sponsor partners loved it too, with the Target children’s area proving to be an especially popular destination. All in all, it was a terrifically positive thing for The Times,, Hoy, Metromix, KTLA – but especially for our readers, users, and neighbors.

Thanks and bravos go to so many people. Our Events group and Editorial led the extraordinary effort, but it was truly the whole company pitching in, including hundreds of volunteers both days without whom the festival literally could not happen. So thank you to everybody who helped create this special gift to the people of Los Angeles.

Speaking of readers, newspapers across the country released circulation numbers for the six months ending in March. Our numbers were in line with the industry, down 5.1% daily (to 774,000) and down 6.1% Sunday (to 1.1 million copies). The decreases reflect the impact of home delivery price increases (to improve our revenue picture), as well as a focus on marketing to fewer, but longer-staying, subscribers. There is, of course, also the ongoing impact of competition from the internet and other media that we have been experiencing for some time.

The headline should be that the Los Angeles Times has the best media audience reach in Southern California—a net combined print and online audience of 4.8 million each week. It’s even more when you add in Hoy, Metromix, and our Times Community Newspapers (5.5 million people). More than TV stations, more than radio stations, way more than the other newspapers in the region. And even with our slight declines, we are holding our audience better than competing media.

So we are going to be telling this story, and it’s a good one. You might have seen our ad talking about it on the back page of today’s business section. If you haven’t, check it out. And view it and the other upcoming ads on my blog

Have a great week.


Hiller's internal blog is for employees only.

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