Sun bucks industry trend


Published: Wednesday, November 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 1, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
The Gainesville Sun bucked a national trend by seeing its Monday-through-Friday newspaper circulation increase 1.47 percent over 2005.
On average, daily circulation of 770 newspapers across the country fell 2.8 percent and Sunday sales fell 3.4 percent over the past six months, compared with the same time period in 2005. Gainesville Sun circulation increased Monday through Friday to an average of 44,305, a 1.47 percent increase over 2005.
Figures released this week by the Audit Bureau of Circulation represented the time period of April 1-Sept. 30, 2005 and 2006.
The Sun experienced a 0.71 percent drop in Sunday circulation, which includes home delivery and rack sales. Many other papers in the state experienced much larger drops in Sunday sales. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune saw a 6.03 percent dip. Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel's Sunday sales dropped 5.26 percent. Fort Walton Beach's Northwest Daily went down 9.02 percent. The Miami Herald sold an average 39,342 fewer Sunday editions in the past six months than a year ago, a 9.81 percent decrease.
A few Florida daily newspapers other than The Sun saw increases in daily (Monday-Friday) circulation figures. The St. Augustine Record increased circulation by 2.38 percent. Charlotte Sun Herald (Port Charlotte) saw a 7.09 percent increase, the Citrus County Chronicle (Inverness) saw a 1.02 percent increase and The Villages Daily Sun (Lake County) saw an increase of 14.61 percent in daily and 13.56 percent in Sunday circulation.
Jim Miller, circulation director for The Sun, said, "Our numbers have usually been flat to small-gain, which is different than most newspapers in the state and around the country. Part of our increases could be attributed to our college readership program, in which we replate The Sun's final edition into a campus edition. Our average circulation of that is over 900 Monday through Friday."
Miller also said single-copy sales were buoyed by the University of Florida's successful basketball and football programs, with issues snapped up after games. Further, The Sun's Newspapers in Education program has spurred many schools to buy subscriptions, he said.
The monthly "unique visitor" reports for gainesvillesun.com for April through September show an average of 310,854 visits to the Web site each month. There are 10,000 Guardians distributed each Thursday.
Sun Publisher Jim Doughton said, "The circulation increases for The Gainesville Sun are gratifying at a time when industry numbers are soft. However, we are most pleased to see the total audience - including The Sun, gainesvillesun.com and The Guardian - at an all-time high.
"The combined product has redefined the traditional core newspaper audience," he said.
Marina Blomberg can be reached at (352) 374-5025 or blombem@gvillesun.com.

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