Regional ABCs: London paid-for weeklies take a hit

London proved to be the toughest market for the paid-for weeklies in the second half of 2008, with titles in Hackney, Islington, Hornsey and Tower Hamlets among the biggest fallers in the UK.

According to the latest regional newspaper circulation data from ABC, only 28 of the UK’s 428 paid-for weeklies reported circulation increases.

Twenty-four of these increased their circulation in the second half of 2008 without giving away a single copy.

The Tyrone Times, in Northern Ireland, was the best-performing actively purchased weekly paper, up 17.6 per cent year on year with an average sale of 3,466.

One London weekly bucked the downward trend. The Hounslow Borough Chronicle reported a 7.9 per cent circulation increase to 4,861.

There were also rises for the Cheadle Post and Times (up 6.7 per cent), the Peeblesshire News and the Exmouth Journal series (both up 6.2 per cent).

One London paper did beat the trend – the Hounslow Chronicle Series, which has rebranded as the Middlesex Chronicle.

The Trinity Mirrror Southern title achieved a 7.9 per cent year-on-year circulation boost to 4,861. According to editor Jacnice Raycroft, the sales increase was achieved through a back-to-basics approach which saw the paper’s reporters concentrate on ultra local news.

At the other end of the table, the Islington Gazette posted the steepest decline in paid-for circulation, down 26.5 per cent to 8,075.

Sister title the Hackney Gazette, which sells 96 per cent of its copies at 50p, was down 22.4 per cent to 8,012.

The East London Advertiser fell 26.3 per cent year on year to 6,783 and the Hornsey Journal slipped 21.2 per cent to 4,630.

The 28 paid-for weeklies that rose (all percentage changes are year on year)

Surrey Herald & Staines News Series – 13,923 (0.1%)
Uttoxeter Post & Times – 3,549 (0.2%)
Brighouse Echo – 6,642 (0.2%)
Stockport Express – 14,611 (0.7%)
Brechin Advertiser – 2,952 (0.7%)
Forres Gazette – 3,660 (0.8%)
Littlehampton Gazette – 9,924 (0.9%)
Worthing Herald – 17,768 (0.9%)
Hemsworth & South Elmsall Express – 6,514 (0.9%)
Surrey Mirror (Series) – 11,941 (1.0%)
Stranraer & Wigtownshire Free Press – 7,822 (1.2%)
Denbighshire Free Press – 7,243 (1.3%)
Crawley Observer – 8,927 (1.4%)
Hebden Bridge Times – 3,417 (2.0%)
South Belfast News – 2,133 (2.0%)
Northern Times – 4,933 (3.5%)
Tyrone Herald – 6,830 (3.6%)
Todmorden News – 4,198 (3.7%)
Strathspey & Badenoch Herald – 5,032 (3.9%)
Strabane Chronicle – 5,531 (4.2%)
Weston & Somerset Mercury – 17,022 (4.6%)
Morpeth Herald – 3,103 (5.3%)
Limavady Northern Constitution – 1,639 (5.3%)
Exmouth Journal (Series) – 9,140 (6.2%)
Peeblesshire News – 5,322 (6.2%)
Cheadle Post & Times – 1,893 (6.7%)
Hounslow Borough Chronicle Series – 4,861 (7.9%)
Tyrone Times – 3,466 (17.6%)

To find out how your paper’s circulation is doing go to the ABC website and type its title into the “quick search” box.

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