The Los Angeles Times reported that their digital, or online, traffic results were up compared to the rest of their competitors but they are still seeing a decline in print circulation.
For the period covering June 2010 to June 2011 the Times reported that unique visitors were up 5.4%. In the last year their main competitors all registered declines with the most notable being The New York Times, which saw their visitor count drop by 18.8%, most likely due to the pay wall the paper instituted earlier this year.
Part of the reason for the surge in online visitors is the increased popularity of the Times’ 13 blogs, which now bring one million or more visits per month.
While this is seemingly good news for the Times, it doesn’t mean that the paper has actually been able to monetize their online investment. And it still ignores the larger problem of the print edition which recorded a 2% drop in daily circulation in the last report, to which the paper boasted that it was the smallest decline in six years. Even that modest drop is understated as the Audit Bureau of Circulations changed its formula to count more unpaid circulation as paid and therefore preventing the numbers from falling further than they would have under the old formula.
The good online news may be short lived though as rumors are circulating that the paper is for sale, and that usually means even more cost cutting to make it more attractive to potential buyers.