Revised sales figures for a regional daily have revealed that a purported 7.5pc sales increase in the second half of 2011 was in fact a 6.2pc drop.
ABC figures for Archant’s daily titles and its Norfolk weeklies were published today following a six-week delay after a former Archant senior circulation manager submitted falsified figures.
Don Williamson was dismissed in August for having overstated the Norfolk titles’ figures in the previous set of results published in February this year.
Those figures, covering the second half of 2011 published in February, purported to show that the Norwich Evening News had increased its circulation by 7.5pc.
However revised figures for the same period published today show that the title’s circulation actually went down by 6.2pc in that period and by 17.8pc in the period January – June 2012.
Sister title the Eastern Daily Press, which had originally posted a 0.7pc circulation increase in the second half of 2011, has had its figure revised downwards to a decrease of 6.5pc, with a further fall of 10.5pc in the first half of 2012.
Since the original 2011 figures were published, there has been a wholesale shake-up at both Norfolk dailies with Nigel Pickover moving from the Ipswich Star to become editor-in-chief.
The original 2011 figures for the Star, which posted a 0.4pc rise, and the East Anglian Daily Times, with a 0.3pc increase, were found to be correct in today’s revised figures.
The Star, which went from an 80pc paid-for title in the second half of 2011 to 61pc paid-for title in the first half of 2012, saw its average circulation increase year-on-year by 20.2pc to 18,451 in the period January to June 2012.
However the EADT fell back in the first half of this year with a 4pc drop.
Archant Norfolk’s paid-for weeklies all saw circulation falling in the first half of this year according to today’s figures.
The North Norfolk News was down 7.7pc, Dereham and Fakenham Times 8.5pc, Great Yarmouth Mercury 13.7pc, Lowestoft Journal 13.9pc, and Beccles and Bungay Journal 15.3pc.
In a message to staff today, Archant chief executive Adrian Jeakings described the situation as “very disappointing.”
“The review and audit process has been thorough and complete and we have put new controls in place to ensure there is no recurrence of these problems,” he said.
“We will continue to strive to maintain and grow print circulation by all legitimate means possible, but primarily through the promotion and marketing of our newspapers’ excellent content, which remains undiminished.
“Having now resolved the issues identified, we can again start to grow sales of our newspapers. Early indications are encouraging.”
The publisher has also appointed a new circulation director in the shape of Darron McLoughlin , who has been poached from Johnston Press where he is currently Head of Newspaper Sales Development.
Darron, who has recent experience in developing newspaper subscription packages, including bundling print and digital editions. will start his new role on November 5.”
Archant Anglia MD, Johnny Hustler, said: “We are now determined to put this matter behind us. The falsification of our circulation numbers caused a shockwave across our hardworking and dedicated teams in Archant Anglia, who are now working more closely than ever to produce great newspapers which engage with our readers and deliver results for our advertisers.”
Jan Pitt, Group Executive Director, Client Services at ABC said, “Archant engaged with ABC as soon as they identified there was an issue with their circulation reporting, and we have worked closely with them to complete the audit of their titles in Norfolk and Suffolk. We have welcomed their constructive engagement and commitment.”
ABC figures for January to June 2012
|East Anglian Daily Times||28,745||Paid||-4pc|
|Eastern Daily Press||53,233||Paid||-10.5pc|
|Norwich Evening News||15,750||Paid||-17.8pc|
|The Advertiser – Norwich Edition||55,896||Free||0.2pc|
|The Advertiser – Waveney Edition||44,406||Free||1pc|
|The Advertiser – Yarmouth Edition||41,230||Free||1.9pc|
|Beccles & Bungay Journal||5,650||Paid||-15.3pc|
|Bury St Edmunds Mercury||23,052||Free||0.3pc|
|Dereham & Fakenham Times||6,328||Paid||-8.5pc|
|Great Yarmouth Mercury||14,705||Paid||-13.7pc|
|North Norfolk News||6,619||Paid||-7.9pc|
|Thetford & Watton Times||18,754||Free||0.6pc|
|Wymondham & Attleborough Mercury||13,802||Free||0.6pc|
Revised ABC figures for July – December 2011
|East Anglian Daily Times||29,772||Paid||0.3pc|
|Ipswich Evening Star||15,471||Paid||0.4pc|
|Eastern Daily Press||55,553||Paid||-6.45pc|
|Norwich Evening News||16,514||Paid||-6.24pc|
|The Advertiser – Norwich Edition||54,833||Free||-0.6pc|
|The Advertiser – Waveney Edition||44,297||Free||4.3pc|
|The Advertiser – Yarmouth Edition||39,893||Free||-4pc|
|Beccles & Bungay Journal||6,113||Paid||-3.98pc|
|Dereham & Fakenham Times||6,457||Paid||-0.44pc|
|Great Yarmouth Mercury||15,125||Paid||-5.54pc|
|North Norfolk News||6,928||Paid||-1.77pc|
|Thetford & Watton Times||18,659||Free||0.1pc|
|Wymondham & Attleborough Mercury||13,745||Free||-0.1pc|