WHEN PIGS FLY: Auditors Downsize Inky Circulation

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ASSOCIATED PRESS: The Philadelphia Inquirer’s circulation numbers have been reduced after an adjustment by industry auditors. The Audit Bureau of Circulations cut the Inquirer’s posted Sunday circulation by 15,718 to 670,022 for the 12 months ended April 1, 2007. The weekday circulation count was adjusted down by 392 to 341,384.

The change enlarges the Inquirer’s Sunday circulation decline from the March 2006 audited report to 5.7 percent, instead of the previous 3.4 percent decline. The weekday circulation decline for the 12 months remained at about 3.6 percent. The 15,718 reduction is unusually large in the newspaper industry, which typically sees audited numbers change within hundreds, not thousands, of copies, ABC said. The reduction was first reported by the trade publication Editor & Publisher.

Jay Devine, spokesman for Inquirer owner Philadelphia Media Holdings LLC, said ABC was unable to verify certain recipients of the paper in third-party circulation programs. These are programs in which a group might give a copy of the paper to their subscribers as a gift. “We have records that people did receive the paper,” Devine said. But ABC auditors “were not able to, in some instances, reach certain individuals to verify.” MORE

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