Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Paid paper surviving battle with free daily

A Southern California newspaper is proud that it only lost 1.7 percent of its weekday circulation after a free daily started in its territory. Copley Press, owner of the San Diego Union-Tribune, launched a free daily, Today's Local News, on Nov. 7, 2004 in northern San Diego County to compete with that area's paid circulation daily, the North County Times. Today's Local News is delivered to 75,000 homes. The North County Times reported today that its circulation is 89,746 on weekdays (down 1.7 percent in the past year) and 93,219 on Sundays (down 1.2 percent). But the Times pointed out that the Copley-owned San Diego Union-Tribune lost 5.2 percent of its Sunday circulation (to 419,633) and 4.9 percent of its Thusday-Saturday circulation (to 350,910). North County Times publisher Dich High said the North County Times performed well against the combined Copley competition. "They made a pretty good effort to blow us out of here with a free newspaper on our doorsteps," he said. "It apparently hurt them more than it hurt us."