Regional press reveals signs of optimism

All daily paid-for regional titles published by Northcliffe Media, Johnston Press and Trinity Mirror recorded year-on-year circulation falls, although the latest regional newspaper ABCs have revealed signs of optimism.

Manchester Evening News: now showing a profit
Manchester Evening News: now showing a profit

View regional ABC figures

The figures cover the six-month period from January to June this year and show that a number of titles are witnessing a positive change in fortunes. But the daily paid-for titles are still being hit hard by an exodus of readers.

Northcliffe Media, the regional unit of the Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT), publishes a number of flagship daily titles, including the Hull Daily Mail, the Nottingham Post, and the Bristol Evening Post.

The 35p Nottingham Post recorded an average daily circulation of 42,529 in the period, down 11.6% on the year. The Hull Daily Mail was down 6.7% on the year to 47,422, and The Bristol Evening Post fell 5.7% to 41,506.

DMGT has rebuffed suggestions that it is in talks to sell off Northcliffe, which publishes a total of around 100 titles.

Today’s audited numbers indicate that a number of Northcliffe’s non-daily newspapers, both paid-for and free, are attracting more reader eyeballs.

Northcliffe’s Leek Post & Times, a weekly paid-for title, was up on the year by 12.5%  to 11,738, while the Folkestone Herald series, also a paid-for weekly, was up 26% to 15,795.

Northcliffe’s weekly free title, the Dover Express, increased its distribution by a stratospheric 98% to 21,497.

Likewise, rival regional publisher Trinity Mirror, whose purchase of the Manchester Evening News earlier this year offered the industry a much-needed fillip, has disclosed a mixed set of figures.

The Birmingham Mail was down 9.1% to 51,353, while another daily, the Liverpool Daily Post shed 28% over the year to register a circulation of 8,389.

But the circulation of sister title the Liverpool Echo, which has moved from a one-edition to a two-edition structure, would suggest that it is battling back against the tough economic climate.

Its circulation was down 3.2% on the year to 89,140, but nudged up on the last six months by 0.7%.

Alastair Machray, editor of the Liverpool Echo, said: "Moving to the two-edition structure has ensured that we can reach our readers at a time of day that suits them, with an improved product both in terms of print quality and editorial content."

Trinity’s recently acquired Manchester Evening News – which is now making a profit – operates a mixed paid-for and free structure and reported a circulation of 96,719 in the period. There is no year-on-year comparison, as its previous owner Guardian Media Group (GMG) withdrew it from ABCs last year.

Johnston Press’  titles, the Yorkshire Evening Post and Wigan Evening Post, fell on the year.  

The Yorkshire Evening Post was down 7% on the year to 42,722. However, the Wigan Evening Post showed signs of recovery. Its circulation was up 0.9% on the period, to 7,567.

Note: The attached table only includes titles with a circulation above 15,000

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