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Our analysis shows how The Wall Street Journal (NSDQ: NWS) Europe, which is being investigated for an alleged circulation “scam”, doubled its subscription sales to offset diminishing single-copy circulation.
WSJ Europe’s total circulation had fallen by a third in the eight years before it implemented the circulation programme. Under the programme, circulation began to creep up again…
*ABC* UK says the category questioned by reports is the paper’s multiple-copy subscription sales (not its bulk sales categories), which doubled in a single half-year when the Journal is said to have begun using the programme.
The *ABC* originally validated the programme. Sales through this method continued to grow steadily until late 2010, but have returned to original levels after a whistleblower allegedly complained about the scheme last year. In their place, WSJ Europe has upped both its controlled free circulation and its multi-copy bulk sales.
The background to all this is that WSJ Europe single-copy sales have more than halved in the last 10 years. The paper has used several techniques to add new circulation – all of them commonly used by other publishers and approved by the *ABC*, except until the day it retrospectively says otherwise following its inquiry.
But it has not all been about print circulation. The Journal has also been rapidly building its web operations in Europe and Asia.