Torquay Herald Express relaunches as 192-page weekly

The Torquay-based Herald Express relaunched today as a 192-page weekly.

The last daily edition of the 86-year-old title came out last week and the new weekly edition has an initial print-run of 50,000.

The daily Herald Express sold an average of 21,112 copies a day, down 3.7 per cent year on year, in the last six months of 2010 – which made it one of parent company Northcliffe’s best-performing dailies. On its best-selling day it sold around 24,500, so staff are hoping to at least exceed that total in its new weekly form.

Although circulation performance of the daily Herald Express was relatively good, lack of ads in the recession-hit seaside town forced management into the weekly move.

Around half the 30 editorial jobs on the title have been cut as a result of the weekly move.

Editor Andy Phelan said the response from advertisers to the new format had already been positive.

He said: ‘It’s been phenomenal, the numbers this week are sensational. Already, from a business perspective, this is proving to be a solid decision. Now it’s over to the readers.”

The £1-a-copy paper is being supported by TV advertising and 30 supermarket merchandisers as part of a ten-week promotional campaign.

Although the Herald Express does not have its own website, journalists will file stories to Northcliffe’s centrally-run site This Is South Devon.

Phelan said that ‘perishable’news goes straight online – but more reflective pieces and genuine exclusives are saved for the print edition.

Next month a second Northcliffe daily, the Scunthorpe Telegraph, is also set to go weekly.

Meanwhile, there is speculation that other Northcliffe dailies could also follow suit.

Last week the Northcliffe-owned Lincolnshire Echo reported that Jon Grubb, the paper’s editor since 2005, has left to ‘pursue a business venture”.

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