Exeter’s Express and Echo is to become a weekly after 106 years as a daily title as part of publisher Northcliffe Media’s ongoing shake-up of its portfolio.
The change, due to take place early next month, will see the Devon title produce a 200-page weekly edition which will hit the streets each Thursday.
No information has been given about the likely number of potential redundancies, but the change of frequency in Torquay saw around half of the 32-strong editorial staff lose their jobs. The Express and Echo currently has around 12 reporters, in addition to production, sports and features staff.
It is expected the final daily edition of the Express and Echo will appear on Friday 2 September.
The first weekly newspaper will be in the shops on Thursday 8 September, and will remain on sale throughout the week.
The Express and Echo has an average daily circulation of 17,102 according to the most recent ABC figures – lower than the Torquay title’s but slightly higher than Scunthorpe’s.
At least one Northcliffe title that is expected to remain daily has a lower circulation than the Express and Echo, but is understood that decisions about the frequency switches have been made on the basis of profitability rather than sales.
Northcliffe managing director Steve Auckland said: “We are committed to giving the Express and Echo’s readers real quality and value for money – the new weekly edition of the paper will deliver on both.
“We need to adapt to changes in the market in order to survive and prosper. The plans for the new edition of the Express & Echo look excellent and I am confident we can offer both readers and advertisers added value.”
Editor Marc Astley said: “Exeter is a much different city from the one that first embraced the Express & Echo in 1904. The population has become increasingly diverse with many of our readers now leading ever-busier lifestyles.
“It is clear to us that they value local news and their local newspaper but the majority of them simply do not have the time to buy it every day. We therefore feel that a weekly title would be much better aligned with the needs of our customers.”
Express and Echo MD Andrew Blair added: “This is a significant change for the business and a major step forward for advertisers in Exeter and East Devon.
“They will experience an immediate benefit as we anticipate a single issue of the weekly to reach a much wider market than any single edition of the daily.
“We will still be the leading media in Exeter and the heart of Devon and our desire to serve our readers is as strong as it has ever been.”
Northcliffe say initial results from the change of the Torquay Herald Express have been encouraging for both circulation and advertising, with advertising performance for the first edition up 19pc from an average full week of daily figures, and the first week’s circulation, albeit heavily promoted, more than double the most recent daily ABC.