The editor of the Bath Chronicle has said his newspaper would have gone out of business had it not made the switch from daily to weekly.
In a magazine interview published online today, Sam Holliday said the change of frequency in 2007 had “saved the paper.”
Sam also claimed other editors of small regional dailies were “thinking about” making the change on the basis of the Chronicle’s success.
Sam was speaking in an interview with InPublishing magazine carried out by the media pundit and HTFP blogger Steve Dyson.
Asked whether going weekly had worked for the Chronicle he replied: “In our case, it saved the paper. We’re producing a much better product as a result. It’s well received by the community, sells more and we make more money.
“We were only making a tiny profit as a daily, and we were the smallest daily in the country.
“Had we then suffered the 10pc-plus revenue falls the recession brought, I really think we’d have been out of business. As a daily, Bath was never really in the money. Now we’re comparable with other big weekly centres.”
“We were first and it’s only been a trickle following us to date, but this may accelerate,” he said.
“The number of people visiting to see what we’ve done is in double figures – with scores more phoning, emailing and asking for copies, so it’s definitely something people are looking at.
“Some small dailies may well survive, but it’s got to be an option for others. Every editor of a small circulation daily is thinking about it because it’s out there – we’ve done it and it’s worked.”
Speculation over the identity of the next Northcliffe title to make the switch continue to focus on the Lincolnshire Echo, whose editor, Jon Grubb, abruptly left last week to pursue “new business interests.”
The paper’s former editor Cliff Smith told BBC Lincolnshire’s breakfast programme today: “It is probably inevitable that it will go weekly”.
In an article accompanying his interview with Sam, Steve Dyson quotes one publisher as saying that 12,000 circulation is the cut-off point for running a profitable daily.
Only one standalone Engilsh daily title, the Burton Mail, currently falls below that point, but the Mail is not thought to be currently considering the weekly option.