Well, circulation figures are down and unlike the constantly changing readership numbers, circulation numbers are slightly better audited. But 'slightly better' means what it does, these numbers do not include 'free' copies, but newspaper companies have for a long time managed to pass off free copies as paid copies, usually by discounting them to the extent that they became free. Things like the papers distributed at the airport - something that has ended, at least in Delhi thanks to a combination of high newsprint prices and GMR-DIAL's greed.
That said, the first point is possibly the biggest reason for the large drop in circulation for most papers - notice teh sudden absence of schemes like free shoes or what not along with papers. So the drop in circulation must also have led to a decline in the sale of cheap Reebok shoes - must check on that one. And in a weird sort of way, a decline in circulation is a good thing for everyone - prices of raddi paper completely diverged from each other as more and more newspapers flooded the market. The loss of pages also meant fewer crap stories got printed, not that crap stories have stopped in any which way but they're fewer of them. The downside is that the ads that promise clean male-to-male massages have become more prominent - sometimes I wonder if HT and ToI will survive without those ads? eriously, even the sex sites don't have such brazen adverts. Talk about 'family' newspapers.
Anyway, back to the point, even though things are picking up and there are signs of people movement all over again, I think the high-water mark was reached last year and subsequent floods will never be the same.