MEDIA ON TRIAL: Birmingham Post's weekly edition goes upmarket

My impression of the first weekly edition I have seen is that it looks and feels good.

Birmingham Post: relaunched and changed to weekly publication
Birmingham Post: relaunched and changed to weekly publication

Birmingham Post

Trinity Mirror
What's happened?
Paper has relaunched and switched to weekly publication

For £1, the reader gets more than 100 pages split between several sections, including a Review section, TV guide, a glossy property supplement and two business sections. Print production is perfect and, with that many pages, it has got the look and feel of a leisurely weekend read. I'd even go as far as saying it's a regional equivalent of The Sunday Times.
Looking at the first 20 pages, my assumption would appear to be correct. Each spread is given over to a full
in-depth article and, after a quick scan, it appears they all relate to the local area, such as business or politics. 

The topics covered are those you would expect for a paper that has traditionally targeted the upmarket residents of the West Midlands. 

There are no "cats stuck up trees" or "lorry hits low bridge" articles. They all appear to be in-depth analysis and comment on their various topics. 
Advertising is minimal, but sadly that's probably to do with the economy rather than the paper dictating a certain ad/editorial ratio. 

There are some local advertisers mixed in with the national brands. Some might say local ads look out of place in such a product, but they wouldn't to someone from Birmingham - it's partly why they've bought the paper.
The two business sections look to be one-off specials; one on private equity and the other about international trade.  Again, these are topics you expect the upmarket people of the West Midlands to want to read about. 

The property section has a glossy cover, something I haven't seen in regional newspapers for a long time, which again gives it a quality feel. And looking at the house prices, those featured match the readership too.
Overall, this is a good paper. It's important it reaches the local target audience - upmarket people - to understand that the Birmingham Post is not about cats in trees. 

What's good?
The quality look, feel and content.
What could be better?
Better flagging of the available sections/pull-outs.
Would I book my clients on to this?
If I wanted to target upmarket people in the West Midlands, then definitely.

Matthew Merrett, director of regional press, OMD UK


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