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Trib gains circulation by combining editions

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By Ron Daparma
Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007

Tribune-Review circulation is outpacing both national and local trends.

The newspaper reported solid gains, while circulation fell in aggregate at major U.S. daily newspapers -- and at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, according to an Audit Bureau of Circulations FAS-FAX report Monday.

Figures from the Audit Bureau show the Tribune-Review posted a 48 percent gain, or 48,590 copies, to 149,068 in the average daily circulation vs. last year in the six-month period ending in September.

During the same period, average Saturday circulation surged 42 percent, or 47,819 copies, to 161,037; and Sunday circulation jumped 19 percent, or 30,809 copies, to 188,810.

"The increase in circulation is a result of the combination of all editions of the Tribune Review," said Ralph Martin, CEO of Tribune-Review Publishing Co.

The six newspaper editions included in the total are the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, The Tribune-Review, The Valley News Dispatch, Valley Independent, the Leader Times and the Daily Courier. In the past, those editions reported circulation individually.

"The new circulation numbers represent our Trib Total Media philosophy of having the entire market covered under one umbrella. We've simply corrected our reporting to show advertisers our true reach in the market," Martin said.

In comparison, the Post-Gazette's average daily circulation totaled 202,812, a drop of 9,263 copies, or 4 percent; its Saturday circulation totaled 192,068, a decline of 5,821 copies, or 3 percent; and its average Sunday circulation totaled 332,617, a decline of 22,349 copies, or 6 percent, according to Audit Bureau figures.

According to an analysis of the 538 daily U.S. newspapers that reported average weekday paid circulation to the Audit Bureau, Monday-through-Friday circulation fell 2.6 percent in the six-month period. For the 609 newspapers reporting Sunday figures, Sunday circulation fell 3.5 percent.

USA Today, published by industry leader Gannett Co., kept its place as the largest daily paper in the country and chalked up a 1 percent gain in circulation to 2,293,137 for the six months ending in September, according to preliminary figures filed with the Audit Bureau of Circulations, an industry group based in Schaumburg, Ill.

The Wall Street Journal remained No. 2 in average total paid daily circulation, with 2,011,882, down 1.53 percent. The Journal's parent company, Dow Jones & Co., is in the process of being acquired by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. The New York Times was No. 3 at 1,037,828, a decline of 4.5 percent.

Newspaper circulation has been eroding steadily over the past 20 years, as reading habits change and as people turn to other media such as cable TV for news. In recent years the declines have been accelerating, especially at large metro papers, where there tends to be greater competition from Internet usage.

There were some exceptions to the rule, including Tribune Co.'s Los Angeles Times, whose circulation edged up 0.5 percent in the latest period to 779,682. In New York, the New York Daily News edged past its longtime rival New York Post, but both papers still had declines -- 1.7 percent for the Daily News, owned by real estate developer Mortimer Zuckerman, and 5.2 percent at the Post, which is owned by Murdoch.

Among larger papers, the only other major daily reporting gains was The Philadelphia Inquirer, which clocked a 2.3 percent gain to 338,260, making it the 16th largest paper by circulation. The Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News were bought last year by a group of business people led by Brian Tierney, a former advertising executive.



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