The four daily newspapers relaunched as weeklies by Northcliffe averaged double-digit percentage circulation declines in the last six months.
Exeter’s Express & Echo, which laid-off around half of its editorial staff before making the move to weekly in August 2011, was the worst-performing title, down 13.1 per cent period on period to 21,132 sales a week. This compares with average daily sales of 16,586.
Northcliffe’s Lincolnshire Echo, which went weekly last September, fell 11.2 per cent to 22,878 (compared with 17,151 when it was a daily), the Torquay Herald Express was down 10.8 per cent period on period to 27,331, and the Scunthorpe Telegraph dropped 9.6 per cent to 18,338, ABC figures revealed.
‘The first few months contained extensive promotions and so it’s difficult to compare like for like,’chief executive Steve Auckland told Press Gazette.
‘However, over a core eight month period, circulation on average is over 30 per cent up on the average daily sale so we’re in line with our expectations.
‘Profit performance in these businesses is on average 50 per cent higher than last year, giving them a secure future to build upon.”
Ten former daily newspapers have converted to dailies in the last year, including Trinity Mirror‘s Liverpool Post.
Its first official ABC figures released yesterday showed average circulation dropped 4.2 per cent since making the switch, falling from 7,519 to 7,198.
A Trinity Mirror spokesperson said: ‘The economic downturn continues to present challenges across the entire regional publishing industry.
“However, we continue to take actions to strengthen our brands across all platforms including our newspapers, websites and mobile sites.
“Since its move to weekly distribution, The Liverpool Post’s circulation figures are in line with our expectations. It’s important to remember that Liverpool is a two-paper city and, as evidenced by the recent ABC figures, it’s sister paper, Trinity Mirror’s Liverpool Echo, continues to perform strongly.”
In contrast, the five Johnston Press dailies which have switched to weekly distribution all reported significant circulation gains on a per-issue basis.
In April the company announced that five of its titles would make the switch to weeklies, including the Peterborough Evening Telegraph.
As a daily it sold 13,834 copies on average but as a weekly – and with a 55p increase in cover price – it currently averages sales of 19,948 for the five weeks in which was audited.
Likewise, the Daily Scarborough Evening News (45p) sold an average 9,914 copies before converting to a weekly with average sales of 16,736, and the daily Halifax Courier averaged sales of 14,272 (down 9.4 per cent on previous year), compared with 21,529 as a weekly.
The daily Northampton Chronicle & Echo sold 15,197 (down 7.4 per cent year on year) and the weekly averaged sales of 22,993.
The daily Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph had sales of 17,018 down 8.2 per cent year on year and the weekly Northamptonshire Telegraph averaged 23,590.