The San Francisco Chronicle is, as of this writing, no longer listed as one of the top 25 U.S. Newspapers, according to Audit Bureau of Circulations data for March 2012, and for September 2011. And this happened,even as the SF Chronicle seemed to post somewhat better numbers for 2012 than for 2011.
But read on.
In September 2011, the SF Chron posted 220,515 circulation, making it number 24 and ahead of the San Diego Union Tribune. In March 2012, the SF Chronicle wasn’t on the board, but the digital daily data listed near the bottom of the page had a side note posting the 2012 circulation as 229,174.
So, while SF Chronicle circulation is up by 8,659 and because of the inclusion of its digital version which is at 63,652 in circulation, it’s still not as high as the lowest in the 2012 rankings, the Detroit Free Press, at 230,739.
But the real story comes in subtracting the SF Chron’s digital data of 63,652 circulation; the net is 165,522.
In other words, the San Francisco Chronicle‘s real circulation as of March 2012 is just 165,522. That’s 53 percent of the 312,188 circulation posted in 2009. A dramatic 47 percent fall in just four years.
That’s a number suggesting the paper’s on its last legs as a major publication.