Third Northcliffe daily switches to weekly publication

The Exeter Express & Echo will become the latest Northcliffe Media title to switch from daily to weekly publication next month.

The last daily edition will come out on 2 September and will be replaced by a 200-page weekly edition the following week.

The company has not announced how many jobs will go as a result of the move but when Northcliffe’s Torquay Herald Express made the switch earlier this month half the 32-strong editorial team lost their jobs.

Last month the company announced that the Scunthorpe Telegraph would also be making the switch, with the first weekly edition due out later this month.

Circulation of the Express & Echo has fallen by 22 per cent since 2007 to 17,102 in the last six months of 2010, according to figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC). Its current year on year rate of circulation decline is 5.3 per cent.

Northcliffe managing director Steve Auckland said the company needed to ‘adapt to changes in the market in order to survive and prosper”, adding: ‘We are committed to giving the Express & Echo’s readers real quality and value for money – the new weekly edition of the paper will deliver on both.’

Northcliffe’s latest financial figures revealed that ad revenue was down 10 per cent year on year in the quarter to 2 July and circulation revenue was down 8 per cent.

Regional managing director Andrew Blair said the Express & Echo’s switch to a weekly publication will provide an “immediate benefit” to advertisers “as we anticipate a single issue of the weekly to reach a much wider market than any single edition of the daily”. When the Herald Express made the switch ad revenue was said to be up by 19 per cent.

‘Exeter is a much different city from the one that first embraced the Express & Echo in 1904,” said editor Marc Astley. ‘The population has become increasingly diverse with many of our readers now leading ever-busier lifestyles. It is clear to us that they value local news and their local newspaper but the majority of them simply do not have the time to buy it every day.

‘We therefore feel that a weekly title would be much better aligned with the needs of our customers.”

Last month Northcliffe announced plans to sell its seven-title Kent Regional News and Media group to KM Media for an undisclosed sum.

As part of its portfolio review the company closed its three-title Recorder series in Nottinghamshire and restructured its senior management team.

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