The regional newspaper market is continuing to stem its overall
rate of circulation decline, according to the latest batch of
six-monthly figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
The only blight on the positive picture was a slump in sales of the
Sunday regional titles, down by just over 4 per cent year on year. Last
year, the rate of decline had been stemmed to 2.6 per cent.
The biggest-selling regional Sunday newspaper, the Sunday Post, fell 6.6
per cent year on year to 738,848 in the six months to December 1998,
which made a significant impact on the sector’s total circulation
The Sunday Sun in Newcastle and Belfast’s Sunday Life also suffered from
The weeklies market is still the only growth sector within the regional
press market. It increased its rate of growth to 1 per cent year on year
from 0.8 per cent in 1998. Almost three-quarters of all titles reported
a rise in circulation.
The top three titles - the West Briton, Essex Chronicle and Surrey
Advertiser - all reported nominal growth while The Kent Messenger, the
fourth largest title, reported a 5.3 per cent rise year on year to
The regional morning market saw eight out of 17 titles report sales
rises but, overall, the sector declined by 0.5 per cent. This compares
with a fall of 0.4 per cent last year.
The top three titles - the Press & Journal in Aberdeen, Glasgow’s The
Herald and Dundee’s Courier & Advertiser - all saw a fall in sales.
Sales in the evening regional market were down 1.2 per cent year on
year, the same as last year. The two largest titles - the Birmingham
Evening Mail and the West Midlands Express & Star - reported sales
declines of 2.4 and 2.6 per cent respectively.
Chris Stanley, the marketing director of the Newspaper Society, said:
’Although the picture is one of robust growth for the weeklies and
stability overall, we cannot afford to be complacent. One of the major
challenges for the industry is to make the final leap into positive
growth across all sectors.’