The St. Petersburg Times' circulation rose slightly compared to its peers, becoming the 13th largest Sunday paper in the country, according to a new system of estimating circulation which was released Tuesday morning.
The paper's average Sunday circulation totaled 429,048 for the six months ended March 31. The Times also ranked as the 18th largest weekday paper with average daily circulation of 292,441.
It was the only Florida paper to make the top 25 list for either Sunday or daily circulation.
Three Florida papers ranked among the top 25 print and online audience gainers for the period. The Naples Daily News was 12th-biggest gainer with an audience of 271,095, up 4.5 percent; the Miami Herald was 15th-biggest gainer with an audience of 1.28 million, up 3.1 percent; and the Bradenton Herald was 20th with an audience of 209,633, up 1.6 percent.
The March report reflects new rules by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) that were two years in the making. The category that was commonly used to compare papers before — total paid circulation — no longer exists.
Instead, ABC is reporting a new top-line number called total average circulation. That average number includes any purchased copies plus branded editions of any paper that may have a different name but are labeled to include the word "edition." The number does not include third-party copies and copies distributed to schools and employees.
Because of the change, ABC has recommended not making any direct comparisons between a given paper's circulation in the March report and prior audits. However, the method establishes a new baseline for print media to measure industry growth or contraction going forward.