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Trib circulation pulls away from Post-Gazette's

| Saturday, May 17, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

The Tribune-Review widened its circulation edge over the Post-Gazette with gains in its printed newspapers on Sundays.

The Tribune-Review and its Trib Total Media-branded papers and electronic editions posted a Sunday circulation total of 337,484 during the six months that ended March 31, more than 45,000 ahead of the P-G, according to figures from the Alliance for Audited Media.

Average weekday and Saturday circulation over the six months at the Trib also outpaced the competition.

The Trib's Sunday papers increased from a year ago partly because of the inclusion under alliance rules of branded community papers.

Sunday circulation at the P-G dropped by more than 10,000 papers, or 3.4 percent, to 292,180, and by nearly 14,000, or 7.7 percent, Monday through Friday. Only the P-G's electronic edition had higher numbers than the Trib's.

“I think we continue to put out a newspaper that people in the region want. We're appreciative of their support,” said Ralph Martin, chief executive of Trib Total Media, the newspapers' parent company.

“People want to be in the big paper. We give them a chance to be in both the local paper and the big paper,” Martin said.

P-G management declined to discuss the figures.

“We are very pleased with our growth within new and important audience segments,” the company wrote in an emailed statement that discussed plans for a new production facility and a focus on digital products.

Average Trib circulation during the week fell by 1.6 percent to 198,963, but rose on Saturday by nearly 2 percent to 161,718.

The Arlington Heights, Ill.-based Alliance for Audited Media reported circulation figures for 610 daily newspapers in the United States.

Some of the largest metro newspapers in the country continued to show circulation losses, a trend that has persisted for more than a decade despite adding branded editions to their figures.

The Trib appears to be bucking the trend.

“In the last 10 years, print circulation of daily newspapers is down by half in this country,” said media analyst Alan D. Mutter, a former newspaper executive who teaches at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley.

“In this era, there are a lot of different ways to approach readers,” Mutter said, noting that changes in rules for counting editions makes comparisons between newspapers harder.

Numerous papers included branded editions in their figures, including the P-G and two of the three largest newspapers.

Martin noted that even without the branded paper editions, the Trib's Sunday circulation increased by about 15,000 papers over the past year.

“Our strength is on our print editions,” he said. “We've had growth in our electronic editions. But print is still much stronger.”

David Conti is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5802 or dconti@tribweb.com.

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