Regional Sunday papers are here to stay

The regional Sunday newspaper market is thriving, according to one editor, despite losses for all of Britain’s six Sunday titles in the last six months of 2007.

David Brookes of the Sunday Mercury in Birmingham said the regional Sundays, which were down 4.6 per cent overall, would be around for a long time yet due to the different things they offer to their daily counterparts. His paper was 4.3 per cent down year on year to an average of 59,339.

Brookes said the paper’s staff ‘should be really pleased’with the paper’s results and pointed out that its year-on-year drop one year ago was 8.5 per cent.

But he said that following a ‘repackaging’with more sports and news coverage last year, the paper will launch a new website in June.

Sister title The Birmingham Post launched its new site last week.

The Stoke Sentinel Sunday was closed just days after a positive ABC result last March, but Brookes said he thought there would not be another closure in the next 12 months.

‘There is still the strength in Sundays. What they offer is something unique,’said Brookes. ‘We have 40 pages of sports every week, we do the Premiership and Championship [football leagues] but the bulk of that is Midlands sport. That is a fantastic offering.”

The independent Kent on Sunday saw an 11.6 per cent decline in its paid-for circulation down to 2,370, but the title is predominantly given away for free.

Wales on Sunday was down year on year by 4.5 per cent to an average of 41,119, while the Newcastle Sunday Sun had average sales of 68,033, a year-on-year drop of 4 per cent.

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