The San Jose Mercury News and its affiliated publications gained in Sunday circulation and digital readership during the past year, according to a report released Tuesday by the Alliance for Audited Media.

The paper, whose affiliated publications include the Contra Costa Times and the Oakland Tribune, had an average Sunday circulation of 702,407, up 1.8 percent from March 2012.

That put the Mercury News in seventh place among the top 25 U.S. newspapers in Sunday circulation.

"We're pleased with the report and we're going to continue to press forward," said Mac Tully, president and publisher of the Mercury News and its affiliated papers in the Bay Area News Group.

The Mercury News' websites had almost 9.5 million unique visitors in March. And digital circulation was a combined 116,337 for digital replicas and digital apps, a gain of 75 percent over the previous year.

"Digital has grown our audience," Tully said. "Print is fairly steady, but the aggressive growth has come from our digital releases."

Daily circulation was 611,194. Year-over-year comparisons could not be made due to a change by several affiliated newspapers, which dropped Monday home delivery two years ago.

Because of the change, the AAM did not include the Mercury News in this reporting period's top 25 newspapers in daily circulation. Had it been included, it would have ranked fifth.


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The circulation figures include branded and digital editions. Such editions now account for 19.3 percent of U.S. daily newspapers' total average circulation, up from 4.5 percent in March 2012, according to the AAM.

The audit group said that average daily circulation for 593 newspapers dropped by 0.7 percent during the past year.

Formerly known as the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the AAM changed its name to reflect a broader role it has taken in auditing media circulation across multiple platforms, releasing semiannual reports.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported a Sunday circulation of 301,425, up 1.5 percent from a year ago, and daily circulation of 218,987, down 4.4 percent from a year earlier.

Contact Pete Carey at 408-920-5419. Follow him at Twitter.com/petecarey.

top 10 U.S. daily newspapers

1. Wall Street Journal: 2,378,827
2. New York Times: 1,865,318
3. USA Today: 1,674,306
4: Los Angeles Times: 653,868
5. New York Daily News: 516,165
6. New York Post: 500,521
7. Washington Post: 474,767
8. Chicago Sun-Times: 470,548
9. Denver Post: 416,676
10. Chicago Tribune: 414,930
(San Jose Mercury News: 611,194 -- not included because of a reporting change)
Source: Alliance for Audited Media