Star Tribune Sets National Pace With 18 Straight Months of Circulation Growth

Investments in print and digital platforms connect journalists, readers and advertisers in transformational ways

MINNEAPOLIS (Nov. 2, 2011) — Star Tribune Media Company continues to buck the national trend, showing gains in newspaper circulation for the third straight reporting period. Data released yesterday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations shows the Star Tribune outperforming its peers among the top 25 U.S. newspapers. Among the highlights:

  • Star Tribune reported Sunday circulation of 518,095, becoming the 7th-largest circulation Sunday newspaper in the U.S.
  • It reported average daily circulation of 298,147, jumping three spots to claim the 12th-largest circulation among U.S. daily newspapers.
  • With average weekly readership of 1,310,622 the Star Tribune newspaper now reaches 52.6% of all adults ages 18 and older in the 13-county Minneapolis–St. Paul area

When combined with an average of 2.3 million monthly unique visitors to StarTribune.com (as reported by digital marketing intelligence firm comScore), these figures give Star Tribune the largest reach of any Minnesota media brand. They also come on the heels of publisher and CEO Mike Klingensmith being named 2011 Publisher of the Year by Editor and Publisher magazine

“We are proud of the growth in our print circulation because it reflects not only the hard work of everyone at Star Tribune, but the sophistication of our readers and the appetite for high-quality journalism in Minnesota,” said Klingensmith.

Investing in print

“The release of the latest ABC FAS-FAX data confirms there are a number of clear success stories emerging in terms of circulation and readership growth, and they are newspapers that have made thoughtful, strategic investments both in the quality of their journalism and in developing new distribution channels to meet consumer preferences,” said John Murray, vice president of audience development at the Newspaper Association of America.

At a time when many media companies are shifting resources away from print, Star Tribune has been investing in its daily newspaper. Among the most recent improvements are more local reporting from around the Minneapolis–St. Paul metro region; expanded content in the Business, Taste and Travel sections; a redesigned front page; and up to eight additional color pages every day. Many of the improvement are the result of consumer research and reader focus groups, as Star Tribune seeks to provide the news in a way that meets reader preferences and improves the reading experience.

More reader and advertiser options

The transformation at Star Tribune also includes innovation on several new and refreshed digital platforms. In April, the company released a redesigned website, which now receives more than 19 million visits each month. In July, the company launched a new mobile site and in August it introduced a new iPad application, which has been downloaded more than 36,800 times. With the release of its iPad app Star Tribune introduced an innovative cross-platform advertising model in which qualified print advertisements also appear on the app at no additional charge, extending the reach and effectiveness of the advertiser’s investment.

In addition, Star Tribune has invested in broader high school sports coverage, introducing dedicated websites for 14 boys and girls sports and a Minnesota high school football smart phone app. Star Tribune plans to launch iPhone and Android news apps and additional high schools sports apps within the next month.

“We are committed to rapidly developing new distribution channels to reach consumers and provide advertisers with more options,” said Jeff Griffing, chief revenue officer at Star Tribune. “Through all of these new channels advertisers are able to extend their campaign reach by capitalizing on each platform’s technology. At the same time, we’re better able to zero in on the advertiser’s target audience, providing more focus to their marketing.”

New digital subscription model

Recognizing the value of Star Tribune’s award-winning journalism and the depth and breadth of reporting, the company yesterday introduced a digital subscription model for unlimited access to Star Tribune content. Visitors to StarTribune.com, the mobile website, the iPad app and forthcoming iPhone and Android apps can read up to 20 stories per month. After that, a digital subscription will be required to read more.

“All of our investments draw on the tremendous strength of the Star Tribune newsroom—more than 260 journalists producing original reporting and content every single day,” said Klingensmith. “We will continue working hard to give Minnesotans access to the news they want, when and how they want it”

About Star Tribune Media Company 

Star Tribune Media Company is a locally owned and operated media company serving Minnesota and the upper Midwest. Minnesota is the only U.S. market in the top 10 in household income, home ownership, health and fitness, literacy, spending on the arts, credit scores and online activity. With the 14th largest daily circulation newspaper in the U.S., the most-visited local website, and Twin Cities Values, Star Tribune reaches more consumers than any other Minnesota media brand. For more information visit startribune.com or startribunecompany.com.