- Regional newspapers continue to arrest their long-term sales decline as owners invest in their products, according to Audit Bureau of Circulatoins figures for the six months to June this year.
The overall market declined just 0.5 per cent, compared to 1.8 per cent fall two years ago, with weeklies enjoying circulation growth of one per cent. The evening titles reduced their rate of decline from 2.2 per cent last year to just under one per cent.
Two thirds of the 232 weekly titles showed circulation growth, with the Essex Chronicle leading the paid-for sector with sales of 50,009 and the East Kent Mercury registering the fastest growth with a 21 per cent leap in circulation.
Almost half of all the regional evening titles registered growth, compared to just 18 per cent two years ago. The Birmingham Evening Mail and the West Midlands Express & Star continue to dominate the sector, with circulations of 195,391 and 193,484 respectively.
Chris Stanley, the marketing director of the Newspaper Society, said: "We are seeing smarter marketing from newspaper groups. There is also greater development of the product in terms of content and print technology. Overall, we now have a regional press scene dominated by companies who want to reinvest their profits back into the business, rather than multimedia owners who would invest profits in other areas of their business."
However, the Sunday market continued to lose sales at a rate of 3.4 per cent -- the same as last year. The Sunday Mail in Glasgow leads the market with an average circulation of 795,952, closely followed by the Sunday Post in Dundee with 763,569.
The morning titles also lost sales at the same rate as last year, falling just under one per cent. However, ten out of the 16 titles registered growth. The Press & Journal from Aberdeen led the market with a circulation of 107,520, followed by Glasgow's Herald with 101,450.