Regional future sound, reveals report

By Zoe Smith The outlook for the regional press is healthy and there
are growth opportunities for the sector, says a new report from market
research company Mintel.

Advertising sales are still outstripping
the performance of the nationals, despite an industry-wide stagnation
in advertising demand and growing competition from online specialists,
the report reveals.

The growth in over-45s, regional titles’
largest readership, will sustain the regional newspaper market in the
short term. Some publishers are already aiming to target a younger
audience by adapting their editorial, style and online content.
According to the report this must remain a priority for future sales
prospects.

The regional advertising market as a whole lost 13 per
cent in total sales volume between 2000 and 2004. In contrast, the
weeklies increased sales by 4 per cent over the same period.

Regional publishers are offering an increasingly diverse range of products.

The
regional press now includes more than 400 magazines and niche
publications and more than 600 websites as well as radio and television
stations.

According to the report, the regional press has a unique role in offering readers an “unmatched local focus”.

Investment
in new colour presses combined with relaunches and additional editions
should ensure their continued strength in the market, concluded the
report.

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