MEN sales fall to all-time low – but Horrocks says audience is up

Although the Manchester Evening News’s circulation figures were the worst in its history, its audience reach hit a record high according to editor Paul Horrocks.

The key message from Horrocks is that conventional ABC circulation figures alone are no longer relevant for city papers.

“The industry has to get off that newspaper sales bandwagon and look at audience reach,” he said. “Our audience reach is up by 19 per cent. When you take our paid sale at 92,000-plus and the free distribution, which is 80,000, it puts us at 176,000 copies a night. We take the title of Britain’s biggest regional newspaper. Our journalism is getting to more people; our display advertising is up by eight per cent where the national trend is around minus seven per cent. These are positive messages.

The market’s changed, the industry’s changed, we’ve had to change.”

Birmingham Mail editor Steve Dyson also remains positive about his £1million relaunch despite a 13.1 per cent dip to 72,218, saying a major decline in sales was expected from the outset. His “back to basics” relaunch in October 2005, which aimed to reach out to the ethnic community with focused editions, was directly followed by an 11.9 per cent drop in the March 2006 ABCs and then a 17.5 per cent dip in the following period.

The overall picture in the evening SUBSCRIPTIONS: 01858 438872 Regional Evenings (Mon-Sat) SOURCE: ABC Title % actively purchased Sales % Year/Year Title % actively purchased Sales % Year/Year Oxford Mail 100% 25,437 1.5% Guernsey Press & Star 94.8% 16,249 0.8% South Wales Evening Post 98.5% 54,745 0.1% Jersey Evening Post 97.8% 21,237 -0.4% Burton Mail 100% 15,280 -1.1% Greenock Telegraph 100% 17,962 -1.1% Southend, Basildon and Castlepoint Echo 100% 36,531 -1.2% Swindon Advertiser 100% 21,856 -1.2% Daily Echo, Bournemouth 100% 33,347 -1.6% Dorset Evening Echo 100% 19,112 -1.7% North West Evening Mail 100% 18,973 -1.8% Gloucestershire Echo 97.8% 22,033 -2.1% Evening Star, Ipswich 100% 21,352 -2.1% Worcester News 100% 18,425 -2.3% Southern Daily Echo, Southampton 100% 40,461 -2.4% Evening Times, Glasgow 100% 79,365 -2.5% South Wales Argus 100% 28,818 -2.5% Lancashire Evening Telegraph 100% 32,108 -2.6% News and Star East, Carlisle 100% 17,046 -3.0% Shields Gazette 100% 19,732 -3.0% Grimsby Telegraph 98.7% 37,107 -3.1% Herald Express, Torquay 98.4% 25,261 -3.1% Evening Express, Aberdeen 97.5% 55,031 -3.2% Sunderland Echo & Football Echo 100% 44,268 -3.3% Evening Gazette, Teesside 100% 53,739 -3.3% The Citizen 98.5% 26,907 -3.3% Portsmouth News & Sports Mail 100% 56,437 -3.6% Evening Courier, Halifax 100% 21,856 -3.7% The Argus, Sussex 100% 33,860 -3.7% The Gazette, Blackpool 100% 31,114 -3.7% Scunthorpe Telegraph 97.9% 21,278 -3.8% Scarborough Evening News 100% 14,108 -4.0% Huddersfield Daily Examiner 100% 27,046 -4.2% Bristol Evening Post 97.6% 53,826 -4.3% Bolton News 100% 30,799 -4.4% Lincolnshire Echo 97.9% 23,420 -4.5% The Herald, Plymouth 98.5% 38,914 -4.5% Shropshire Star 99.9% 73,941 -4.5% Wigan Evening Post 100% 9,345 -4.5% The Press, York 100% 34, 070 -4.7% Derby Evening Telegraph 98.3% 45,522 -4.8% Bath Chronicle 98.3% 12,363 -5.0% Hull Daily Mail & Sports Mail 98.5% 59,834 -5.0% Evening News, Edinburgh 100% 53,584 -5.4% Express & Star (West Midlands) 100% 142,433 -5.4% Evening Gazette, Colchester 100% 23,142 -5.7% Leicester Mercury 98.2% 73,634 -5.7% Northampton Chronicle & Echo 100% 21,114 -5.8% South Wales Echo 100% 51,386 -5.9% Coventry Telegraph & The Pink 100% 49,571 -5.9% Hartlepool Mail 100% 18,992 -6.0% Lancashire Evening Post 100% 32,783 -6.0% News and Star West, Carlisle 100% 6,917 -6.2% Belfast Telegraph 89.9% 87,782 -6.4% Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph 100% 23,378 -6.5% The Sentinel, Stoke 99.4% 65,294 -7.4% Evening Chronicle, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne 98.8% 77,056 -7.6% Liverpool Echo 100% 110,804 -7.8% Sheffield Star & Green ‘Un 100% 55,307 -7.8% Cambridge Evening News 98.4% 27,831 -7.9% Yorkshire Evening Post 100% 58,114 -8.1% Oldham Evening Chronicle) 100% 22,584 -8.4% Express & Echo, Exeter 98.7% 21,839 -8.7% Nottingham Evening Post 96.3% 62,077 -9.2% Reading Evening Post 86.6% 15,720 -9.2% Telegraph & Argus, Bradford 100% 38,052 -9.5% Evening Leader, Wrexham 100% 21,838 -10.3% Peterborough Evening Telegraph 100% 18,757 -10.6% Birmingham Mail 97.8% 72,218 -13.1% Doncaster Star 100% 4,415 -13.4% Manchester Evening News 98% 94,018 -26.8% sector was less gloomy than the last period, when not one evening title managed to put on sales. Three evenings have increased sales: the Oxford Mail (1.5 per cent), the Guernsey Press & Star (0.8 per cent) and the South Wales Evening Post (0.1 per cent).

The Guernsey Press & Star’s rise, compared to a 2.3 per cent drop the previous year, was in part thanks to a number of hard-hitting exclusives, according to editor Richard Digard. In August the 16,249 circulation paper undertook an investigation into a bungled tender that eventually forced the resignation of almost all of the island’s cabinet.

Oxford Mail editor Simon O’Neill said that on top of better targeted, “punchier” content and a number of big football stories, earlier print slots have contributed to the paper’s upward trend.

Earlier printing is sweeping the evening sector. Some see the trend as a short-sighted act to save money – but media owners argue the move improves sales due to longer shelf lives.

O’Neill said: “Earlier print has contributed but it’s difficult to say whether this will continue. If you do get the initial trend you are up against your own figures the following year but our figures are showing no sign of going backwards.”

Indeed, the majority of the papers to switch have stemmed the declines, be it at the expense of getting late-breaking news into print.

South Wales Evening Post editor Spencer Feeney said that as well as being very locally focused, the Post’s success has been down to the overnight strategy introduced in October 2005. It goes on sale at 7.30am as opposed to its previous 11.30am and sales have increased from –3.2 per cent before the switch to a 0.1 per cent rise afterwards.

The Argus in Brighton’s decline was considerably less following its morning switch, at –3.7 per cent to 33,860 compared to an eight per cent year-on-year drop in the previous six-month period.

This is despite the launch of a bite-size free edition, Argus Lite.

Other papers to begin printing overnight in the last year included the Lancashire Telegraph, –2.6 per cent this year compared to –6.2 before the change; the Coventry Telegraph, whose sales went from –7.3 per cent last year to –5.9 per cent this year; and The Bolton News, at –4.4 per cent compared to –5.9 per cent last year.

The Plymouth Herald was down more than before its switch: –4.5 per cent compared to –2.7 per cent last year.

Regional managing director Duncan Currall said much of the decline was down to reducing bulk sales from two per cent to one per cent.

Among the worst performers in terms of sales were the Doncaster Star (–13.4 per cent), the Peterborough Evening Telegraph (–10.3 per cent), the Evening Leader in Wrexham (–10.3 per cent)

and the Telegraph and Argus in Bradford (–9.5 per cent).

Doncaster Star editor Alan Powell said: “It’s a very difficult market in South Yorkshire at the moment. It’s just symptomatic of elsewhere, but it is a bit more than most: it’s something we need to address. Staffing levels have not decreased, nothing has changed.”

Comments
No comments to display

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

sixteen + thirteen =

CLOSE
CLOSE