The Times Orange County Edition and the Orange County Register increased their daily circulation figures over the past six months in the highly competitive Orange County market, according to figures released this week by the independent Audit Bureau of Circulations.
However, The Times Orange County's circulation on Sundays was down slightly.
Daily circulation for the edition rose for the eighth consecutive reporting period, a steady increase since 1989. Circulation was 198,227 on average for the six months ending Sept. 30, up 4,304 or 2.2%.
"Given the economic conditions in Southern California and the competitive situation here, that's a significant feat," said Bill Furlow, marketing director of The Times Orange County.
The edition's Sunday circulation fell by 3,465 newspapers, or 1.2%, to 288,002.
The Register's average daily circulation in Orange County rose by 9,734 newspapers, or 3.2%, to 314,489. On Sunday, the newspaper's Orange County circulation was 367,688, an increase of 9,285 newspapers or 2.6%.
The Register attributes its gains to "a lot of hard work by people here and a strong vote of confidence by our readers," said John Walsh, vice president of circulation.
The newspaper said its circulation also was boosted by a change in the way it accounts for subscriptions. Last year, it started giving its Saturday edition free to Sunday-only subscribers while also adding Saturday's sales to its ABC daily reporting week. Previously, it counted daily circulation, as most newspapers do, only on the basis of newspapers sold Monday through Friday.
The change added more than 8,000 to the Register's daily subscription average in the reporting period that ended April 31, Furlow said. Without such a change, he said, that newspaper's daily circulation would be below 1989 levels.
"We don't necessarily agree with that perspective," Walsh said. "We made a change, as newspapers do, but it wasn't to pull a fast one on the marketplace."
Overall, the Register's total daily circulation in Orange and surrounding counties was up 11,742 Monday through Saturday, or 3.5%, to an average of 343,906. Sunday circulation rose by 12,706 subscriptions, or 3.2%, to 407,692.
Total daily circulation at the Los Angeles Times, the nation's second-largest metropolitan daily newspaper after the New York Times, fell 56,941, or 5%, to 1,089,690. Sunday circulation dipped 26,736, or 1.8%, to 1,488,484.
Times spokeswoman Laura Morgan said the decline is a result of the closing of the San Diego County Edition last Dec. 18. Subscribers in San Diego County now receive the Los Angeles metropolitan edition, she said, and it has not proven as popular.
The newspaper has also made deliberate cost-saving cutbacks, such as no longer delivering papers in the Las Vegas and Central California areas, during this reporting period, Morgan said.