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CHICAGO SUN-TIMES DAILY CIRCULATION JUMPS 22,500 AS METROPOLITAN READERS MAKE "THE SMART CHOICE"

 CHICAGO, April 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The Chicago Sun-Times has won the latest round as Chicago's two rival dailies skirmish for city and suburban readers, today's report from the Audit Bureau of Circulation shows. The Sun Times gained some 22,500 daily copies while the Tribune dropped almost 42,000.
 Average daily circulation at the Chicago Sun-Times rose 22,499 copies in the six months ending March 28, according to figures released today by the Schaumburg-based ABC.
 For the same period, daily circulation at the Chicago Tribune fell 41,834 copies. According to the ABC report, the Tribune's daily losses were evenly divided between the city and the suburbs. The Trib dropped 19,696 daily copies in the city, 19,206 in the suburbs and 2,932 copies outside the metropolitan area, the ABC report shows.
 Meanwhile, the Sun-Times registered a 10-percent gain -- a jump of 25,002 copies -- in the suburbs, while dropping only 3,760 copies in the city.
 Today's six-month ABC publishers' statements are the first all inclusive circulation reports released since the Sun-Times launched its "Smart Choice" campaign last fall. The campaign focused on the newspaper's value at 35 cents when the Tribune was raising its newsstand price to 50 cents.
 Tom Foster, Sun-Times senior vice president of consumer sales and marketing, noted that among the nation's top 10 metropolitan daily newspapers, the Sun-Times recorded the largest percentage daily gain, while the Tribune had the largest percentage loss for the six-month period. He outlined highlights of the report:
 -- A five-percentage shift in market share favoring the Sun-Times. Today's report gives the Chicago Sun-Times 47.2 percent of the major metro dailies sold in the newspaper designated market (NDM), a gain of 2.5 percentage points in the eight-county metro area. The Tribune registered 52.8 percent in the NDM, a decline of 2.5 percentage points. The year-ago figures were 44.7 percent for the Sun-Times and 55.3 percent for the Trib.
 -- A 60,144-copy swing in total daily newspaper sales in the NDM. Daily Sun-Times circulation in the NDM stands at 542,712, up 21,242 copies from the year-ago figure. For the Tribune, the March 1993 NDM is 608,295, down 38,902.
 -- A commanding lead of almost 100,000 copies in daily city circulation for the Sun-Times, giving the daily Sun-Times a 60.6 percent market share in the city. The Sun-Times' Chicago circulation stands at 274,366. The Tribune's daily city circulation dropped 19,696 copies, almost 10 percent, to 178,193.
 -- The 10-percent jump in daily Sun-Times suburban circulation. Daily suburban circulation rose 25,002 copies to 268,346 in the March report.
 -- A swing of 64,333 in the Sun-Times' favor in the battle for overall daily circulation.
 "Today's report demonstrates that our strategy last fall worked -- in fact, it worked better than we expected," Foster said. "We knew we would attract readers and buyers instantly with our heavy marketing campaign. Today's figures show that we kept most of those readers. They're trying the Sun-Times, reading us more frequently and they're sticking with us," he said.
 "Our five-percentage-point shift in market share is truly significant, and for our advertisers, it confirms that they need the Chicago Sun-Times to reach this metropolitan market," Charles F. Champion, senior vice president of advertising sales and marketing, said.
 "It's important that we chalked up strong circulation gains throughout the six-month period," Champion noted. "This report shows that our competitor suffered an enormous drop in the first three months and was forced to discount its price to 25 cents at hundreds of outlets to stem those losses. Our competitor even has resorted to a major reader contest, a tactic it has disdained in the past."
 While the focus of the "Smart Choice" campaign was the daily newspaper, the overall marketing effort had a positive impact on Sunday circulation as well, Foster noted. Overall Sunday circulation at the Sun-Times rose by 1,831 copies to 549,038. The Tribune's Sunday circulation fell 15,433 copies.
 AUDIT BUREAU OF CIRCULATION
 PUBLISHERS' STATEMENT FOR SIX MONTHS ENDING
 MARCH 28, 1993
 CHICAGO SUN-TIMES DAILY TRIBUNE - DAILY
 1992 1993 +/- 1992 1993 +/-
 Total 530,856 553,355 +22,499 733,775 691,941 -41,834
 City 278,126 274,366 -3,760 197,889 178,193 -19,696
 Suburban 243,344 268,346 +25,002 449,308 430,102 -19,206
 NDM 521,470 542,712 +21,242 647,197 608,295 -38,902
 AOZ 9,386 10,643 +1,257 86,578 83,646 -2,932
 CHICAGO SUN-TIMES - SUNDAY TRIBUNE - SUNDAY
 1992 1993 +/- 1992 1993 +/-
 Total 547,207 549,038 +1,831 1,133,249 1,117,816 -15,433
 City 257,916 250,019 -7,897 269,808 259,382 -10,426
 Suburban 278,846 287,994 +9,148 740,713 737,281 -3,432
 NDM 536,762 538,013 +1,251 1,010,521 996,663 -13,858
 AOZ 10,445 11,025 +580 122,728 121,153 -1,575
 -0- 4/27/93
 /CONTACT: Judith Horak, 312/321-2005 or Joanne Kitsos, 312-321-2645, for the Chicago Sun-Times/


CO: Chicago Sun-Times Daily ST: Illinois IN: PUB SU:

LD -- NY132 -- 1714 04/27/93 21:19 EDT
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