ABC FIGURES: Regional press sales suffer further decline

Regional press sales showed the biggest decline in four years in the July to December 1999 ABC results. The aggregate sales of the 1,224 regional newspapers audited by the ABC declined by 1.8 per cent year on year in the second half of 1999.

Regional press sales showed the biggest decline in four years in

the July to December 1999 ABC results. The aggregate sales of the 1,224

regional newspapers audited by the ABC declined by 1.8 per cent year on

year in the second half of 1999.



The biggest decline was in the Sunday sector, which fell 6.6 per cent

after a 4.1 per cent fall last year. Bucking the trend was Cardiff’s

Wales on Sunday, which enjoyed an increase of 6.3 per cent.



The only bright spot was in the weeklies market, which managed a 0.1 per

cent increase with just over half the titles showing a gain.



MediaVest media manager Vanessa Lenton said: ’The results are obviously

disappointing. It is vital that the industry delivers on its promise to

deliver greater cost efficiency in national advertising if it is to

maintain its current share, let alone increase it.’



But Newspaper Society marketing director Chris Stanley defended the

results, insisting that they were solid in the face of ’a phenomenal

explosion of choice’.



He said: ’Mainstream media audiences are bound to diminish and the

overall decline is not that great. And, If you add the online traffic to

the newspaper readership, then the regional press is delivering a

consistent audience.



The West Midlands Express & Star may have lost a few thousand copies but

its website has 24,000 users, generating well over 100,000 page

impressions each week.’



Chief executive of Johnston Press Tim Bowdler saw a positive future for

his organisation and the industry.



’We are predominantly a publisher of weekly newspapers. These have seen

growth for a sixth successive period, which is very encouraging,’ he

said.



’Our evening newspapers held their own and we see no great evidence of

any impact from fragmentation and the increasing competition for

readers.’



Bowdler said he expects to hear the results of the Competition

Commission’s referral of Johnston’s bid for Newscom in the first half of

April. Rival bidders are Newsquest and Trinity Mirror.





CIRCULATION GROWTH JULY-DECEMBER 1994/99

                    Jul-Dec    Jul-Dec    Jul-Dec    Jul-Dec     Jul-Dec

                      94/95      95/96      96/97      97/98       98/99

Mornings               -2.2       -0.9       -0.4       -0.5        -3.7

Evenings               -2.7       -2.5       -1.2       -1.2        -2.4

Sundays                -2.7       -3.3       -2.6       -4.1        -6.6

Weeklies               -1.5       -0.1        0.8        1.0         0.1

Total                  -2.2       -1.5       -0.5       -0.5        -1.8

Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations (July - December 1999).


PERCENTAGE OF TITLES SHOWING CIRCULATION GROWTH

                    Jul-Dec    Jul-Dec    Jul-Dec    Jul-Dec     Jul-Dec

                      94/95      95/96      96/97      97/98       98/99

Mornings                 18         50         53         50          18

Evenings                 13         15         34         35          30

Sundays                  33         44         63         57          14

Weeklies                 32         50         60         70          59

Total                    29         45         56         65          53

Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations (July - December 1999).



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