Chron circulation plummets; Sweeney spins himself silly

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The Audit Bureau of Circulations released the latest newspaper circulation numbers today, and the results weren’t pretty for the Houston Chronicle, which saw a decline of 11.66% in daily circulation. Among the 25 largest newspapers in the country, that drop was exceeded only by that of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (13.62%). The Chronicle Sunday edition did manage to click in atop the Top 25, though, with a whopping circulation decline of 15.73%!

Chron publisher and spinner Jack Sweeney said the big decline was just part of the newspaper’s strategy:

Chronicle Publisher and President Jack Sweeney attributed most of the declines to strategic decisions made by the newspaper to discontinue circulation outside a 90-mile radius of downtown Houston, increase the daily newsstand price to 75 cents and eliminate advertiser-sponsored distribution. Hurricane Ike also affected circulation in coastal communities.

Matt Bramanti takes apart Sweeney’s business “strategy” here.

People may not be buying the newspaper like they once did, but is doing well, according to Sweeney:

And has seen a 20 percent jump in readers who don’t buy the Chronicle. exceeded 90 million page views in August and spiked to 185 million in September due to Hurricane Ike coverage.

“Our journalists keep consumers of Chronicle content engaged no matter what platform they choose,” Sweeney said. “It could be our City&State section, Gloss or one of our online channels like Moms or Houston Belief.”

More likely, it would be’s comic section, a popular online attraction. Or perhaps user-contributed party pics!

BLOGVERSATION: Lone Star Times, Brazosport News.

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