Most newspapers in Florida posted circulation drops in the latest industry estimates released Thursday.
The Tampa Bay Times, which remains the largest paper statewide, posted a 1 percent decline in Sunday circulation and 7 percent decline in Monday-Friday daily circulation in the six-month period that ended March 31, according to estimates from the Alliance for Audited Media.
"We continue to feel some impact to our daily readers because of a still sluggish but gradually improving local economy," Times vice president and Tampa publisher Joe DeLuca said. "However, we are seeing some extremely positive signs in recent trends including significant growth in Sunday single copy sales and in our digital subscriptions to tampabay.com."
The alliance, formerly known as the Audit Bureau of Circulations, has dramatically changed the way it calculates circulation, making comparisons to previous years' data difficult.
Its new figures place a greater emphasis on counting both "branded editions" passed out to readers for free as well as newspaper readers who gain news access through websites, tablets and smartphones.
The changes, in some instances, have made a noticeable difference. For instance, the Tampa Tribune, one of the few Florida papers to post an increase in daily circulation, was buoyed by the addition of 12,654 branded editions. As a result, its daily circulation was up by about 7,000 copies instead of dropping.
Topping the list for total average circulation are USA Today (3.26 million), the Wall Street Journal (2.29 million) and the New York Times (2.15 million).