Regionals suffer in July-Dec 2004 ABCs

Regional newspapers had a tough second half of 2004, with the majority of paid-for titles showing circulation falls.

Leading morning and evening titles, including the Manchester Evening News and Birmingham Evening Mail, showed circulation decreases, according to Audit Bureau of Circulations figures for July to December.

The top-selling morning title, the Aberdeen Press & Journal, was down 2.8 per cent year on year to 87,858. The leading evening title, the West Midlands newspaper Express & Star, fell 3.5 per cent to 157,783.

The Liverpool Daily Post, one of the few paid-for morning titles to increase its circulation, added 4.2 per cent to record a sale of 20,199. The Teesside Evening Gazette, which recently went compact, also grew its circulation.

The Newspaper Society shrugged off the sales declines and chose to focus instead on the decrease in bulk sales of leading regional titles, with 99.4 per cent now actively purchased. It claimed the reduction in bulk sales had affected some of the larger paid-for morning and evening regional titles.

It also said that readership, rather than actual sales, of regional newspapers had risen to reach 40 million adults. This marks a growth of 14 per cent over ten years.

Lynne Anderson, the communications director at the NS, said: "Regional newspapers are in excellent health; readership continues to grow and new advertisers are coming into the medium because of its closeness to readers and its proven effectiveness."