Circulation fell across the board for England’s regional dailies in the first half of 2013, figures released today show.
Latest ABC figures for the regional press covering the period January to June show none of the country’s daily newspaper titles managed to post a year-on-year sales rise.
The only UK regional daily title to post an increase – for the second set of ABC figures running – was the Trinity Mirror-owned Paisley Daily Express, whose circulation went up 9.3pc to stand at 7,567.
By contrast there was another sharp decline for The Argus, Brighton, whose sales slumped by 25.8pc in the period on the back of a cover price rise from 45p to 65p last autumn.
The figures also show big declines for the East Anglian Daily Times, down 21.2pc, and its Archant Suffolk stablemate the Ipswich Star, whose circulation was down 18.2pc even though almost a third of copies are given away for free.
Other dailies which have adopted the part-free, part paid-for model fared slightly better, with the 86.6pc paid-for Birmingham Mail down 4.7pc, the 83.3pc paid-for Cambridge News down 3.9pc and the Manchester Evening News, which gives away around 35pc of its copies, down 6.8pc.
The 9.3pc increase posted by the Paisley Daily Express follows on from a 1.3pc increase in the last set of ABC figures, covering the period July to December 2012.
On that occasion it was one of only two titles to report a circulation rise, the other being the Ipswich Star which had recently moved to the part-free model.
Commenting on the figures, Media Scotland editor-in-chief Allan Rennie said: “It’s a tremendous testament to the editorial and sales teams that the Paisley Daily Express is the UK’s best-performing regional daily newspaper. At 9.9 per cent up year on year no-one has come close to matching us.
“The Paisley Daily Express is one of our great success stories. Brilliant exclusives, Our Make A Wish campaign to fund local community groups and of course St Mirren lifting the cup all helped boost sales.”
The Argus was not the only Newsquest title to see a circulation decline on the back of a cover price rise.
Of the group’s other titles whose cover prices went up during the first half of the year, the Northern Echo saw an 8.5pc drop in sales, the Lancashire Telegraph was down 12.3pc and the Bournemouth Daily Echo down 11.4pc.
Some daily titles along with a large number of weeklies have opted out of the six-monthly audit altogether, choosing instead to report figures only annually each February.