Regional ABCs: marginal 1.6 per cent drop in paid-for weekly sales

The UK’s paid-for local newspapers remained the most resilent regional press sector in the second half of 2007 – dropping 1.6 per cent overall to 5,176,998.

The independent Kent Messenger series remained Britain’s largest weekly newspaper with paid-for sales of 58,810, but suffered a four per cent loss year on year.

The circulation of both the Reading Chronicle and sister title Bracknell News both saw dips of more than 20 per cent year on year: the Chronicle dropped to 11,056, a drop of 21.7 per cent and the News was down to 5,588, a 21.4 per cent dip year on year. The pair were part of a £10m Trinity Mirror sell-off to Berkshire Media Group, a subsidiary of the Dunfermline Press Group.

The biggest rise of any English weekly was St John’s Wood & Maida Vale Express with a 21.6 per cent growth to an average of 433. The Hemsworth & South Emshall Express, sister title of the Wakefield Express, which went tabloid in March and saw its circulation rise by 15.6 per cent year on year to 32,642.

Other weekly titles that have recently announced they will move to tabloid in the near future all suffered negative results in their last ABCs as broadsheets.

The Richmond and Twickenham Times made the shift in January – too late to affect these figures – and was down 11.9 per cent year on year to 10,256. This was an improvement on the first six months of 2007, when the paper was 17.3 per cent down year on year at 11,073.

The Oxford Times, which will go tabloid on 7 March, was down 10.1 per cent to 22,793 copies per week and the Surrey Mirror, which made the switch earlier this month, was down to 11,862, a drop of 4.8 per cent year-on year.

In London, the Harrow Observer’s sales dropped 14.6 per cent year on year in last half of 2007 and sold an average of 7,703 and the Hampstead and Highgate Express took a 12.9 per cent hit down to 9,619.

Archant’s East London Advertiser, on 9,204, and the Hackney Gazette, 10.331, achieved rises of 1.6 per cent and 1.8 per cent respectively year on year.

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