New format is success for Sentinel

Regional Sundays had mixed fortunes in the first half of this year and suffered an overall circulation dip of 5.2 per cent.

But Stoke’s Sentinel Sunday posted a 15.8 per cent gain, taking its average weekly circulation to 11,886.The Sentinel Sunday lost sales in the first half of 2006 due to a 10p price rise, but the Northcliffe-owned title has undergone huge growth since its move to a tabloid format 12 months ago.

Editor Paul Dutton said: ‘Nothing has changed, the paper is the same mix. This year has been our first full run as a tabloid – and this is a very tabloid area. When it launched there were only 40,000 broadsheets sold [daily] in our circulation area. I always knew we would meet our match when we came up against last year’s figures. As long as we stay steady, I’m happy – we’re all very proud.’

Newcastle’s Sunday Sun maintained fairly stable circulation despite strong competition from the national red-tops. Its circulation drop of 3.9 per cent to 68,960 put it well ahead of the sort of percentage declines currently being suffered by papers such as The People.

Birmingham’s Sunday Mercury, a similarly red-top style title, fell 3.5 per cent to 58,907.

Former regional newspaper of the year Kent on Sunday dropped 32.7 per cent to 1,805 in paid-for sales. Publisher Paul Stannard told Press Gazette that paid-for sales for the predominately free weekly only account for around one per cent of circulation.

He said the only reason they launched a paid-for edition was to satisfy demand from newsagents who said they were being asked for it after the free distribution racks ran out of copies.

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