The Wall Street Journal just announced it has become the top-circulating U.S. daily paper, surpassing USA Today in its jump to the number one spot. The Journal reported their circulation revenue rose 10.1 percent, with individual paid circulation posting a modest year-over year increase of 0.6 percent.
That’s a lot better than the projected 17 percent decrease in circulation during the same time period for the slipping USA Today, due in part to the Marriott hotel chain’s April decision to stop delivering newspapers free to its guests. In a move launched June 1, hotel visitors must now specifically request to have USA Today, the Journal or local papers delivered— and they aren’t choosing USA Today. That is, if they request a paper at all, since Marriott reported 25 percent of guests never read their papers anyway.
Despite these projections, the official circulation figures for the nation’s newspapers won’t be released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations until Oct. 26, so this could all just be inflated speculation.
But Murdoch seems unfazed. Apparently, the Journal is already celebrating their mass media success: a memo was sent to all staffers earlier today with the subject line “A Toast to our Success – Today at the Hub @ 5:00 pm.”
Could this mean Murdoch may reconsider his plans to have the Journal charge for mobile content? Probably not. But maybe he’ll consider sending a nice thank-you note and a box of truffles to the Marriott hotel chain with his soon-to-be generated multi-platform pay wall revenue.