Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chronicle: Circulation Down, Revenues Up

By Robert Gammon
Tue, Oct 27, 2009 at 12:25 PM

The San Francisco Chronicle appears to be on good financial footing for the first time in years, despite reporting a huge drop in circulation in 2009 - a 25.8 percent decline for six months that ended in September, the worst among major U.S. newspapers. Company executives said they expected the circulation decline because they chose to raise home delivery subscription prices earlier this year - by about 75 percent. In fact, the paper is actually doing better financially now with fewer subscribers.

Indeed, the Chron's switch from being a newspaper for the masses to one that can deliver more upscale readers to advertisers appears to be working. Under the previous format, the paper was losing a reported $1 million a week. But Publisher Frank Vega said the paper actually has been profitable at times this year. Consequently, don't be surprised if other newspapers follow the Chronicle's lead.

Newspapers throughout the country also reported circulation drops of about 10 percent. But most of that was calculated. Newspapers nationwide, including the Express, have made a conscious effort to slash circulation in outlying areas in the past few years in order to save on costs.

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