Half of all regional press titles saw sales increase between July and December last year, according to the latest ABC figures.
And the number of weeklies showing circulation growth has increased for the fourth consecutive year.
Figures also show that regional press publishers are continuing their policy of stripping out bulk sales and discounted copies from their circulation figures, with the industry achieving its highest actively purchased and full rate figures to date, of 98.4 per cent and 97.8 per cent respectively.
A reduction in bulk sales has contributed to a small decline in the sale of daily titles, with evenings – which reduced bulk sales by 4 per cent on the last period – particularly affected.
But many titles which recorded overall circulation falls achieved positive growth in their base sale, including the Scarborough Evening News, Derby Evening Telegraph, South Wales Argus and the Manchester Evening News.
Tim Bowdler, chief executive of Johnston Press and president of the Newspaper Society said: “Once again we have seen an exceptional performance from the weekly sector but it is also encouraging to see that a number of daily titles have been able to grow their actively purchased sale with fewer relying on discounted copies to stabilise circulation.”
Fifty-nine per cent of all paid weeklies in ABC membership have increased circulation, compared with 32 per cent seven years ago when the concurrent release began, and 49 per cent of all regional press titles in ABC have shown sales increases compared with 29 per cent seven years ago.
Chris Boyd, chief executive of ABC, said: “The results of the regional newspaper sector’s strategy to concentrate on ‘ABC actively purchased’ copies is clearly showing very positive results.”
Stephen Parker, managing director, Trinity Mirror Regional Newspapers, said: “We’re delighted with the impressive performance of the weeklies and the level of full-rate sales reflected in the results.”
As well as bulk sales, the industry has been reducing the number of discounted copies.
Full rate sales now represent 96 per cent of all evening newspaper sales, compared with 90 per cent for the same period last year, and they make up 97 per cent of all morning newspaper sales and 99 per cent of all Sunday and weekly newspaper sales.
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