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Newspaper halves its audience in distribution model switch

A town’s oldest surviving newspaper is slashing its distribution by more than half – in a bid to reach the parts it has previously failed to get to.

The Nuneaton Tribune is launching a new ‘pick-up model’ – replacing the traditional door-to-door delivery of the last 20 years.

From today the free weekly, with a current ABC figure of nearly 35,000 copies, will now put out 15,000 papers – available in 99 retail outlets across north Warwickshire, Leicestershire and parts of the West Midlands.

The decision by publishers Trinity Mirror will be viewed as a “positive step” in order to reach new readers – and ensure that everyone who wants to receive the paper will do.

A statement on the paper’s Facebook page said: “For our advertisers it means they will also reach new customers who may not have been getting a copy delivered every week through their letter box.”

The Thursday free, which started life as a daily called the People’s Tribune in 1895, is hoping to follow in the footsteps of the Evening Standard’s free distribution success.

Earlier this year TM adopted the ‘pick-up’ version for its Coventry Times (formerly Citizen) free and the rebranded Ealing Gazette which filled the areas previously served by the defunct Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle.

The Tribune used to have a part paid-for element to it but the new arrangements will sweep away the 25p price tag and now be available free at all the locations at which it was once sold.

The paper, which went from its paid-for evening status to free weekly in 1992 following a newspaper ‘war’ in the district , will now have a much wider availability base.

As well as newsagents and post offices, the paper will also be found at major food stores like Asda, Sainsbury’s, the Co-op and Tesco Extra.

The arc of distribution will centre on Nuneaton but include Bedworth, Bulkington, Balsall Common, Exhall, Coventry, Warwick, Ansley, Atherstone, Baddesley Ensor, Galley Common, Hurley, Mancetter, Bramcote, Higham on the Hill and Market Bosworth.

8 comments

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  • September 12, 2014 at 8:19 am
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    Has it really halved it’s audience? It’s halved the number of copies printed but the readership per copy for door to door will always be significantly lower than pick up. I suspect the audience will remain the same, just with significant costs reduced. Why do these stories always have to be portrayed as a negative?

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  • September 12, 2014 at 9:10 am
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    “halves its audience”

    Since when has ABC defined audience ?

    Part paid part free will generate perhaps 2.5 readers per copy for the paid copies but perhaps less than 0.25 for the door to door frees.

    Elective pick up models, Metro for instance, can generate a significant reader per copy figure.

    Do the maths and it may well be that overall audience, ie response for advertisers, is the same with half the print costs. Sound business, removing waste copies and expensive distributors.

    However TM will need to take the pick up model seriously and invest in quality pick up points and market content so that the audience will seek the product out. That is where the always fall short, marketing seen only as a cost to be cut.

    But “halves its audience” , I thought HTFP would at least understand this concept a little better.

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  • September 12, 2014 at 9:11 am
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    John

    Fair play, you were quicker off the mark than me !

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  • September 12, 2014 at 9:40 am
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    great spin

    So will they be charging advertisers half? I think the model is a good one via newsagenst and shops but you can’t just half it overnight and expect paying clients to take it on the chin

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  • September 12, 2014 at 10:03 am
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    Gang Of Four – You are correct that ABC doesn’t measure readership , but JICREG does, and the last readership figure for the Tribune (quoted by the publisher) was 52,640, so roughly 1.5 readers per copy – six times your estimate for door to door frees.
    I don’t know what an average claimed readership per copy is for free pick-ups, but even if it is the 2.5 per copy you estimate for paid for titles, and IF every single copy of the new print run figure is taken, this will mean that the new Tribune will in future be read by around 15,000 fewer people than before. Not quite halving the audience indeed, but a reduction nonetheless.
    Also interesting to read someone claim that such a change is “sound business”.
    Although there has been no mention of any journalistic reductions, don’t forget that this change will probably result in some administration staff, van drivers, and certainly dozens of door to door distributors losing their jobs, as well as reduced workloads in other areas. Sound business maybe, but certainly painful for many people.

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