ABC figures show new slump in regional newspaper sales

Most regional daily and Sunday newspapers suffered further drops in sales with many titles registering significant falls, according to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations six-monthly regional press figures.

Most regional daily and Sunday newspapers suffered further drops in

sales with many titles registering significant falls, according to the

latest Audit Bureau of Circulations six-monthly regional press

figures.



Yet weekly regional titles bucked the trend, with more than half of all

paid-for weeklies increasing sales in the six months between July and

December 1996 compared with the same period in 1995.



For the first time, the figures were unveiled jointly by the Newspaper

Society and the ABC, which offered an upbeat analysis of the results by

pointing to the slowing of the historic rate of decline.



Overall, sales fell 1.5 per cent, against a fall of 2.2 per cent the

previous year.



While both the daily and Sunday markets were hit by reverses, there were

a few stars. Scotland on Sunday, which witnessed a 14.9 per cent

year-on-year increase in sales to more than 100,000; the Oxford Mail,

whose weekday sales enjoyed a 6 per cent rise; and the Irish News, which

was one of a number of successes in the buoyant Northern Ireland market,

putting on 5.5 per cent to become the fastest-growing regional morning

paper.



The rate of decline for the regional Sunday titles generally mirrored

that in the national popular Sunday market. The Newcastle Sun was down

4.8 per cent year on year, while Wales on Sunday was down 3.3 per

cent.



Chris Stanley, the marketing director of the Newspaper Society, said:

’There is no escaping the fact that sales of local newspapers are

marginally down; this is the biggest challenge for our industry. But

publishers are getting smarter and more professional, which is reflected

in the fact that the loss of sale has slowed considerably and that

nearly half of all titles have added sale.’



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