The Liverpool Echo has relaunched with five new sections, mainly aimed at boosting sales in the early part of the week.
The Trinity Mirror-owned daily is financing the changes with a 3p cover price rise to 35p. Editor Mark Dickinson said the relaunch had come about following research which found that thinner papers earlier in the week were putting off readers who formerly would have bought the paper every day.
Monday’s paper, which already has a Premier League-based football supplement called XSport, is to have a new three-page business section called the The Biz, aimed at small businesses and young entrepreneurs.
Tuesday, which is normally the smallest paper of the week, is to be beefed up with a 12-page junior sport pullout called Junior XSport, which will be filled with “hundreds of names and faces”. Also published on Tuesdays will be an eight-page family leisure supplement called Time Off.
The property section is to be brought forward from its traditional home of Thursday, where it clashed with jobs, to Wednesday and it will have four new pages of editorial.
Women’s section Look!, published on a Wednesday, is going up from five pages to eight to become a standalone supplement with new features such as a children’s health section, dad column and more human-interest stories.
A traditionally urban paper, the Echo is also to have its first gardening coverage with a five-page homes and gardens section on Saturday called Weekend Homes. The changes will mean a total of 32 extra pages across the week. Two extra staff have been taken on, a features writer and a sub-editor/designer.
The new-look Echo was launched on Monday with a front-page exclusive interview with a man who was struck by lightning and has just awoken from a coma. Inside there was an interview with Liverpoolborn celebrity Cilla Black, whose home was recently burgled.
The changes to the Echo are intended to target families with children and the junior sport supplement hopes to entice younger readers. In common with most regional dailies, the Echo recorded circulation down year-on-year in the latest round of ABC figures. The Monday to Friday sales figure is down 2.9 per cent to 142,837 and the Saturday figure is down 0.2 per cent to 103,713.
When asked whether he thought he could stop this trend, Dickinson said: “I don’t think anybody is going to reverse something which has gone on for so long and it’s to do with the way people are living their lives now. I think the key to it is presenting people with value. “The key to the fall-off of six-day readers has been people telling us that the beginning of the week is just not good value which is why we’ve concentrated on six-day value.”
By Dominic Ponsford