Tracking global news consumption
The reporting of print circulation figures helped but it was not without it own faults. The problem is that we measure the consumption of the print product, not the popularity of individual news stories both domestically and globally. (I'll graciously skip over the circulation scandals of late)
With the advent of the Internet, a publisher's ability to measure news consumption was altered forever. Now media could measure "to the click", stories that were driving readership. To date these figures have been reported much like circulation numbers, at the site (publication) level limiting an outsiders ability to see what stories "have legs" and are driving the worlds news consumption.
How, when and where people consumed news online at a global scale was impossible to measure, let alone knowing what stories are driving that consumption. With the decline of circulation media is actively trying to prove that news consumption is growing wildly, not slowing. It is just occurring through a new distribution channel, the Internet.