The regional press now sells and distributes 70m newspapers every week, to an audience of around 40m people, according to the latest ABC figures.
Almost half (48 per cent) of all regional newspapers under ABC membership have increased sales between January and June this year compared with 39 per cent for the same period last year.
The figures are also seen as a truer indication of sales with bulk sales and discounted copies all but eliminated from the regional press audit.
The ABC figures show a thriving weekly newspaper market, which has recorded the strongest figures for two years, with 57 per cent of titles recording circulation growth.
These were led by the Kent Messenger, which recorded a circulation of 64,328 – an increase of 34.3 per cent.
Readership of weekly paid-for newspapers has grown by over 10 per cent in the past 10 years and currently stands at just under 20m readers.
Chris Boyd, chief executive of ABC, said: “Overall market conditions during the last six months have been very difficult, but it is pleasing to see this performance from the regional newspaper sector.
“The weeklies have performed very well in particular, and yet again we can see the whole regional sector moving away from discounted and bulk copies.
“Both overall actively purchased, a key performance indicator, and full rate sales percentages have increased.”
There was also a rise in the number of evening titles showing circulation growth, up from 15 per cent last year to 17 per cent this year.
Some of the largest circulation increases were seen at The Gazette, Blackpool, which was up 1.4 per cent and the South Wales Evening Post, Gloucestershire Echo and Dorset Evening Echo, which were all up 0.7 per cent.
The London Evening Standard (circulation 416, 914) and the Wolverhampton-based Express and Star (circulation 174,989) remain the biggest selling regional evening titles.
The Daily Record (circulation: 567,270) remains the largest morning title; the Sunday Mail, Scotland, (circulation 669,651) remains the largest Sunday title; the Milton Keynes Sunday Citizen (VFD 92,874) remains the largest free Sunday newspaper and the Manchester Metro News (VFD 300,702) remains the largest free weekly.
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