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Sales decline continues for paid-for weeklies

The latest circulation figures for weekly newspapers throughout the UK saw a further overall decline in sales with just 19 fully paid-for titles posting an increase.

Clyde and Forth Press’s Alloa and Hillfoots Advertiser saw the biggest increase in sales for the period July 2011 to December 2011 with an 8.8pc rise.

The company also enjoyed increases in circulation for three of its other titles, the Impartial Reporter which rose by 2.9pc, the East Lothian Courier up 1.6pc and the Dumbarton & Vale of Leven Reporter, up 0.8pc.

Johnston Press title the Wigan Observer’s circulation rose by 6.2pc, and stablemate the Chorley Guardian’s by 5.7pc. There was also an increase of 0.2pc for the Boston Standard.

The Lancaster Guardian posted an increase of 6.5pc, while other paid-for newspapers celebrating an increase were the Horncastle News, the bi-weekly Derry News, the Ellesmere Port Pioneer and the Banbury Guardian.

Two of Trinity Mirror’s regional Sunday titles saw increases with the Newcastle’s Sunday Sun sales rising by 14.6pc, and the Wales on Sunday up by 0.2pc.

The Orcadian, the newspaper of the Orkney Islands, saw a rise of 2.3pc, while Trinity Mirror’s Surrey Advertiser increased by 0.1pc.

Other titles which saw increased circulation were the Leighton Buzzard Observer, which was up 2pc, the Longridge and Ribble Valley News and Advertiser which saw an increase of 0.2pc, and the Louth Leader which increased by 0.5pc.

The four Northcliffe dailies turned weeklies posted their first set of circulation figures since changing frequency in the latter half of 2011.

The Torquay Herald Express went from average sales of 21,112 as a daily in the first half of the year to 30,637 as a weekly title while Exeter’s Express & Echo went from a daily circulation of 17,120 to a weekly average of 24,318.

A similar rise was enjoyed by the Lincolnshire Echo, which sold 17,151 in the first half of 2011 as a daily and 25,757 after going weekly.

And the Scunthorpe Telegraph had an average weekly circulation of 20,284, having sold an average of 16,084 in its last full six-month period as a daily.

Free weekly title the Portsmouth Journal saw the biggest increase in circulation with an 117.9pc rise, while the Loughbrough and Charnwood Mail celebrated an increase of 98.1pc.

Other increases for free titles included the Surrey Times with 34.8pc, and 20.8pc for Trinity Mirror’s East Cleveland Herald and Post.

There were also significant increases for some part-free, part paid-for titles – particularly in Norfolk.

The Dereham and Fakenham Times, which is 89pc paid-for, posted a 10pc increase, Lowestoft Journal 7.8pc, Beccles and Bungay Journal 7.7pc, North Norfolk News 6.7pc and Great Yarmouth Mercury 6.7pc.

Paul Hill, publisher of the Archant Norfolk county weeklies, said: “Rising circulation is testament to the success of our editorial and commercial teams in delivering the kind of content people want and advertising that delivers results.

“They show how we are at the centre of our communities and reflect our effort to engage with our readers week-in, week-out in print and hour-by-hour online. All credit to the title editors and journalists, ad managers and distribution teams who are responsible for this success – we’re proud of products and proud of these circulation figures.”

Other part-free, part paid-for titles to show an increase included the Wokingham Times, which gives 30pc of its copies away for free, up 45.3pc, and the Shrewsbury Chronicle which is 90.6pc, up 34.4pc.

Noticeable dips in circulation for paid-for weeklies saw the Rhondda Leader’s figures dip by 19.3pc and the Winsford and Middlewich Guardian by 11.2pc.

There were also big dips for some free titles including the Walsall Chronicle which fell by 18.3pc, the Braintree Weekly News down 38.1pc, and the Wigan reporter down 26.2pc.

The Leighton Buzzard and Linslade Citizen saw a circulation decrease of 38.1pc, the Lancaster and Morecambe Reporter was down 47.4pc, and the Newbury and Thatcham Chronicle decreased by 57.1pc.


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  • February 29, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Leighton Buzzard and Linslade Citizen decline looks shocking at 38.1 per cent – but it is a very small free title, and report would have been a bit more balanced if the results for the paid-for Leighton Buzzard Observer had also been included – because they show a very creditable increase, almost a match for the Orcadian, yet have been completely ignored. Thanks for the encouragement, guys.

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  • February 29, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    I love the Orcadian, particularly its informative and entertaining coverage of modern dance and ceramics.

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