According to a report today, October 31, from the Alliance for Audited Media (formerly the Audit Bureau of Circulations), U-T San Diego's average Sunday circulation dropped to 381,303 for the six months ended September 30 from 409,796 for the six months ended March 31. The figure released today was up from the year-ago number of 351,682.
Average Monday–Friday circulation dropped to 222,541 from 250,678 for the period ended March 31, but was up from 208,931 a year ago. These numbers include print editions, digital, and branded editions such as those under a different name or in a non-English language. This month, the U-T reported to the postal service that its average seven-day print edition — including both daily and Sunday — was 189,822.
The Alliance for Audited Media is no longer reporting circulation of the top 25 newspapers. On March 31, the U-T came in 24th, although the San Diego metro area is 17th largest in the U.S. with an estimated 2012 population of 3.177 million.
The Alliance figures are not as meaningful as they formerly were because a newspaper sold for a penny is counted as paid circulation. In its postal service report, the U-T reported that for the year ended Sept. 15, 2013, it distributed 7,055 daily and 10,156 Sunday, September 15 editions that were free or sold for a nominal amount.
Here is an example of how far print editions have fallen. In 1999, the U-T announced a campaign to raise its daily circulation to 400,000 and its Sunday circulation to 500,000. Digital was not a significant factor then. The campaign was not terribly ambitious, because daily print circulation was already 381,256 and Sunday was 453,666.