TM's Daily Posts reap of redesigns

By Dominic Ponsford

The Liverpool Daily Post was the star performer of not only the morning titles, but the whole the regional daily press.

A radical relaunch has paid off, with knobs on, and prompted a 4.2
per cent year-on-year circulation boost to 20,199 – all of which are
actively-purchased sales. That compares with a drop of 5.8 per cent
this time last year.

The Trinity Mirror title opted for a
completely new look in February last year, with a modern redesign, new
sections and changed editorial priorities aimed at luring more well-off
ABC1 readers.

It also recruited a ten-strong team of
tricycle-riding mobile vendors who have evidently taken the paper to
the Liverpudlians newsagents haven’t been able to reach.

They’ve proven so successful that the tricycles have since been deployed for sister evening title The Echo.

Editor
Jane Wolstenholme said: “We always had high expectations for our
relaunch and hoped that readers would respond positively to the
significant, and in some cases radical, changes we were making to the
paper.

“Staff have worked exceptionally hard over the last year
to not just make those initial changes, but to sustain and even improve
on quality – and our circulation performance reflects that.

“Liverpool is undergoing a major renaissance at the moment and the new, revitalised Daily Post is very much a part of that.”

The
North Wales-based Daily Post has also felt the benefits of a relaunch
in 2003 which was accompanied with a complete split from its Liverpool
namesake. It has turned a drop of two per cent into a level
year-on-year circulation of 40,835.

According to Trinity Mirror
the paper has adopted a “don’t tell it, sell it” motto which has meant
working harder at the presentation of stories.

Editor Alastair
Machray said: “Over the last two years we’ve worked very hard on making
sure we understand our readers better than we ever have before.

“We’ve
gone through every section of the paper making sure it’s tailored to
our target market and there is no doubt that we’re producing a more
modern, more vibrant Daily Post.”

Overall just three regional mornings out of Britain’s 16 managed to put on sales.

In
second place to the Liverpool Daily Post on actively purchased sales
was the Belfast-based Irish News, up 0.6 per cent to 49,955.

The News has consistently either put on sales or held its ground over the last ten years.

Editor
Noel Doran said: “We were up against July to December 2003 figures,
when we had the all-Ulster GEA [Gaelic Athletic Association] final
which was our biggest sale for more than a century, so we are delighted
to have increased sales on that period.

“Over the last year we’ve
appointed two staff correspondents to cover the areas of County Tyrone
and West Belfast and that’s definitely helped us.

We’ve had a
steady stream of exclusive stories and put a lot of work into features
and business. I think our sport is very strong as well.”

The
Trinity Mirror-owned Paisley Daily Express was the third British
morning title to put on sales, albeit by just nine copies to 11,091,
the Scottish title’s third consecutive year-on-year increase.

Editor
Jonathan Russell said: “The success of the Paisley Daily Express is
based on a small but talented and hard-working team of journalists who
know what their readers want from the paper.

“Everyone is encouraged to put themselves in the readers’ shoes.”

Among the declining mornings, the Birmingham Post stands out with its steep circulation drop of 23.4 per cent to 12,936 copies.

Sources
at Trinity Mirror maintain that the picture in the West Midlands is not
as grim as it appears and the drop is mainly due to a reduction in the
number of bulk sales allowable under ABC rules. Among other things this
has meant that a consignment regularly dumped for businessmen at the
NEC has been disallowed.

Some 94.5 per cent of Birmingham Post (Mon-Fri) sales are now actively purchased, compared with 80 per cent a year ago.

The Plymouth-based Western Morning News’ tiny 0.1 per cent drop comes after two consecutive six-month yearon- year rises.

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