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ABC figures: Part-free dailies buck downward trend

  • See how all the regional dailies performed

  • Combined figures for print and online

  • The 25 weeklies whose sales went up

    The so-called “dual model” of part-free, part paid-for newspaper publishing appears to be paying off with three of the daily titles that have adopted it all posting circulation increases today.

    Today’s Audit Bureau of Circulation six-monthly figures showed that only three daily titles in mainland Britain increased their circulation in the year to December 2008.

    They were the Manchester Evening News, which recorded an 89pc increase, the Reading Evening Post, with 5.9pc, and the Birmingham Post, with 1.9pc.

    All three titles have adopted the part paid-for, part free strategy as a way of combatting the circulation decline that continues to afflict the rest of the regional daily sector.

    The MEN’s dramatic increase from an average daily circulation of 81,326 in December 2007 to 153,724 a year later reflects the fact that it is now considered a predominantly free newspaper.

    According to today’s figures, 53.2pc of its circulation is now accounted for by free distribution, putting its paid-for circulation at 71,943.

    The Reading Evening Post is still 83.4pc paid-for, while the Birmingham Post is now regarded as 57pc paid-for.

    The only other UK daily title to record a circulation increase was the Irish News, which put on 0.1pc in the year to December.

    The best-performing daily title on the mainland classed as 100pc paid-for by the ABC was The Echo, which circulates in Southend, Basildon and Castle Point.

    It recorded a circulation decrease of 2.5pc, marginally ahead of the Halifax Courier on -2.8pc and the Northern Echo on -2.9pc.

    Among the biggest circulation losers in today’s figures were the Liverpool Daily Post, down 17.1pc year-on-year, the Doncaster Star, down 14.1pc, and Gloucestershire’s Citizen and Echo titles which both recorded an identical 10.6pc decrease.

    Ipwich’s Evening Star, despite its award-winning coverage of the Steve Wright murder trial, saw its circulation dip by 11pc, but editor Nigel Pickover has put some of this down to the closure of its Saturday sports paper.

    The Express and Star, Wolverhampton, is still the biggest-selling daily with 130,216 paid-for copies although its circulation is now lower than the part-free MEN.

    The West Midlands daily is now the only regional paper in the country with an average daily sale above 100,000. Its closest rival the Liverpool Echo’s average daily sale dipped from 106,401 to 97,779.

    The full regional ABC report can be read here.


    MD – Vauxhall Cars (27/02/2009 15:58:57)
    Thank you regional press! I now realise that we can improve our market share by giving Astra’s away. I just wish I had thought of this earlier!

    Roger Jones (27/02/2009 17:11:22)
    Are we talking about the Birmingham Mail or the Birmingham Post? I suspect it is the former. Come on, let’s get it right!