RedEye, the Chicago Tribune's free daily, is reporting that its year-old weekend edition now has 100,000 opt-in subscribers.
The news comes as the latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations show that the Tribune's daily circulation had fallen 4.4 percent in the past six months to 541,663 and its Sunday edition had dropped 4.6 percent to 898,703. The growth in RedEye's readership has more than exceeded the Tribune's losses during the period.
The Monday-Friday RedEye edition has a circulation of about 200,000. But with an estimated pass-along rate of 1:4, RedEye says its readership is about 800,000. In fact, a Gallup survey commissioned by RedEye says its readership grew 17 percent over the previous year.
The weekend edition is distributed free to readers who sign up, or "opt-in," for delivery. Unlike the Examiner chain, which indiscriminately throws its papers on doorsteps and driveways in San Francisco, Washington and Baltimore, the weekend RedEye only goes to where it is wanted. Not surprisingly, advertisers like this approach.
"RedEye Weekend has been embraced by readers and provides Best Buy with a unique way to reach engaged consumers with an advertising message aimed at showing customers 'why Best Buy this week,'" Marsha Lawrence, senior strategist at Best Buy, said in a press release from RedEye announcing the 100,000 milestone.
The release quotes RedEye GM Brad Moore as saying, "We've developed a loyal following with our readers and getting 100,000
of them to sign up for a home-delivered weekend edition further validates it. ... We're excited about the opportunity this provides for advertisers looking to target them at the Zip code level."
RedEye says that several features developed for its weekend edition have developed a strong following in the past year including the Weekend Playlist, Deja View, Pop Picks and a fashion column by Clinton Kelly (from TLC's "What Not to Wear").
"RedEye is for Chicagoans who value their time as much as the news and information that helps them lead socially active lives, so we couldn't just leave them hanging without their fix on the weekend," said Tran Ha, editor of RedEye's weekend edition.