Published on Tuesday, 30 October 2012 17:52
The latest circulation figures for Chicago's two largest newspapers came out today, showing another increase for the Chicago Sun-Times and its connected newspapers and another decrease for the Chicago Tribune. According to those numbers, this makes the Sun-Times the #1 Chicago newspaper and #9 in the country, while the Tribune falls to #2 in Chicago and #11 in the country. However, the numbers aren't always as they appear on the surface...
According to a report released early today by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), the Sun-Times and all of its suburban newspapers combined, as well as all of those newspaper's digital/website subscriptions, showed a total average circulation of 432,455 for the six month period ending on September 30th. That is a circulation increase of 10,120 since the end of the last six month survey period, and an increase of 43,103 from the figures from last September -- an 11.1% increase.
The Chicago Tribune and its suburban newspapers combined, along with its digital subscriptions (mainly for archived stories and special reproductions -- its full digital subscription program does not start until November 1st) had an average daily circulation of 411,960 for the six month period ending September 30th. At the end of March, that average circulation number was 414,590. At the end of September 2011, the number was 425,370 -- a 3.2% decrease.
With today's results, the Chicago Sun-Times now solidifies the leap up into the Top 10 rankings for all US newspapers that it made last Spring. It holds on to the #9 spot which was held by the Chicago Tribune last year. The Chicago Tribune has now dropped in ranking to #11.
The Top 10 newspapers ranked by circulation now are:
1. Wall Street Journal
2. USA Today
3. New York Times
4. Los Angeles Times
5. New York Daily News
6. San Jose Mercury News
7. New York Post
8. Washington Post
9. Chicago Sun-Times
10. Denver Post
The Chicago Tribune fell out of the Top 10 and is now #11.
For Sunday newspapers, the Chicago Tribune is still king locally. The average Sunday circulation for the Chicago Tribune was 766,561, ranking it #4 nationwide, even though that number is a 1.9% decrease from last year. The Chicago Sun-Times' average Sunday circulation was 408,677 -- a decrease from the number six months ago, but still a 2.0% increase over last year's number -- giving it a ranking of #19 nationally.
In 2011, Sun-Times Media decided to unite all of its many newspapers as part of one brand name. The numerous suburban newspapers that Sun-Times Media publishes added a logo and the words "An edition of the Chicago Sun-Times" to the top of each of the newspapers. This was done to increase its circulation numbers by combining all of the papers into one number. The Chicago Tribune had already been doing this with its suburban newspapers.
The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) -- a non-profit, independent organization that provides accurate audits of print circulation, readership and website activity for the newspaper industry -- made that change allowing newspapers with identical ownership in the same market area to combine their circulations as a group, in order to allow papers to have higher circulation numbers for the main purposes of attracting more advertisers.
In comparing just print editions of the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Tribune is well ahead with an average circulation of 388,848 as opposed to the Sun-Times' 192,360. Where the Sun-Times far outshines the Tribune is with digital subscriptions, boasting an online circulation of 70,932, compared to the Tribune's 23,112. Thanks to its new digital subscriptions, the Tribune's digital numbers could be greatly increased when the circulation figures are released again next spring, moving the newspaper back in to the Top 10. Digital circulations for both papers are up by double digit percentages, as the public rapidly migrates to gaining much of its news & information online.
For the Chicago Tribune, it is not allowed to count the circulation numbers of its daily newspaper RedEye, since the paper is a free publication. The Sun-Times cannot count the circulation numbers for the Chicago Reader, the free weekly it owns.
Today's circulation report by ABC was only the second one released since Sun-Times Media was purchased by Wrapports, LLC last December.
In a statement today, Timothy P. Knight, Chief Executive Officer of Wrapports, LLC, said: "We are pleased to have demonstrated positive growth in our second consecutive circulation report. Sun-Times Media's digital-first approach and editorial team leadership have led to the strengthening of the Sun-Times' core reporting in addition to the development of winning new product lines that are successfully attracting new audiences."
The entire ABC report featuring the semi-annual circulation numbers for the top newspapers in America can be seen HERE