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Trinity Mirror scraps monthly web figures for regional titles

ABClogo-e1424873874120Trinity Mirror has ceased providing monthly online figures for individual regional titles after discussions with advertisers.

The company previously provided web readership figures every month to industry auditor ABC for all of its regional dailies, as well as some weekly and online-only titles.

Statistics covering audience growth on the newspapers’ Facebook and Twitter pages were also published by ABC as part of its monthly ABCe newsbrands reports.

But today only a headline figure encompassing all Trinity Mirror regional titles was published, rather than for individual brands.

It showed that during November 2017, its network of websites had 4,439,236 daily average unique browsers overall – up 19.2pc on the same period last year.

It was, however, down 4.65pc on October 2017’s figure.

On the decision to stop publishing figures for individual titles, a Trinity Mirror spokesman said: “Trinity Mirror has taken the decision to rationalise how its digital network of sites are audited by ABC.

“From December, ABC will audit at a ‘Trinity Mirror group digital’ level, and will no longer provide a breakdown for each site.

“This is driven by the discussions we have with advertisers, who are attracted by the market leading scale and reach of the Trinity Mirror group.

“ABC’s auditing of our national and regional print titles continues unchanged.”

An ABC spokeswoman said: “Trinity Mirror has made the decision to rationalise how its websites are audited and will no longer report a breakdown for each individual website.

“We will continue to audit its web traffic figures at a ‘Trinity Mirror group digital’ level. The latest verified figures are available in our November newsbrands report released on 14 December 2017.

“We continue to verify Trinity Mirror national and regional print titles to our industry agreed standards.”

* Trinity Mirror has also published a trading update ahead of the year-end showing overall group revenues are expected to fall by 9pc year-on-year in the period October to December.

The group said growth of 20pc in digital display and transactional revenues has been offset by declines of 21pc in print advertising revenue and 7pc in print publishing revenue.

It said classified publishing digital revenue, which is mainly sold jointly with print, remains under pressure, reducing expected publishing digital revenue growth for the quarter to 10pc.

The group also said it was making “good progress” in its bid to buy 100pc of Northern & Shell, which publishes the Daily Express and Daily Star.

16 comments

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  • December 14, 2017 at 3:59 pm
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    Do advertisers really care when and how digital ABCs are reported? I’d love to speak to the garage owner or pet shop supremo who gives a tinker’s cuss about when Trinity releases its latest Facebook likes update.
    Is this really because every last digital drop has been squeezed out of some of Trinity Mirror’s regional titles, and it fears that a plateau may have been reached?

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  • December 14, 2017 at 4:18 pm
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    What doesn’t Trinity Mirror want the world to know? That their figures were all smoke and mirrors? That the depressing decline of once-proud titles in print meant there wasn’t a ready market for their digital offers, click bait or not?
    It’s grown in recent years, but circulation? Hmmm. Football is the saviour for most TM titles, sport rather than news. Even that isn’t as good as it used to be, clubs and fans groups knowing their social media reach is just as good if not better, with often TM newspapers simply retweeting and repackaging their news with few true exclusives.
    This latest move suggests TM are trying to hide something.

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  • December 14, 2017 at 6:24 pm
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    After a conversation with the advertisers?? Really that’s the best spin you could put on the declining figures.. Oh please.

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  • December 14, 2017 at 9:27 pm
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    Hi Saddened Journo. No smoke and mirrors, no worry about audience and nothing to hide – just a decision that we don’t need to report site-level details every month. Clients increasingly ask for a much wider range of metrics, depending on their commercial priorities, while in editorial we look at many more metrics than just uniques and page views.

    Your analysis of our titles is also wrong. Yes, football plays a big part but it’s wrong to say it’s dominant at the expense of everything else. Our local audience reach into our towns and cities is rising, the length of time people spend with us is rising, and the frequency with which they visit is also rising. News – that is local news – audiences are the fastest growing at the moment.

    On football, of course fans speak to each on forums and via social media, and clubs also try to speak to fans, so we’ve sought to create a distinct voice which is independent but valuable to fans. I’m sorry you don’t feel it’s as good as it used to be, but it is read by more frequent readers than we had for many a year.

    Hope that helps.

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  • December 15, 2017 at 7:56 am
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    I think, David, you should start reading some of the content.
    Simple.
    Then maybe read content from those same titles 10 years ago. Take note of story count, pagination, exclusives…
    Then, if you aren’t depressed, 20 years ago.
    I know that times they are a changing, but newspaper groups abandoned readers with the lie of the challenge of the internet, of the immediacy of news in the social media era. All the while they were getting rid of so many talented people, people who knew their audience, knew their circulation areas and connected with people.
    Being in this industry today and seeing what is happening is tantamount to torture. Apart from for the ‘yes’ men and women.

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  • December 15, 2017 at 8:52 am
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    In other words “We don’t want our advertisers to see the real figures per site”

    You couldn’t make this stuff up!

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  • December 15, 2017 at 9:42 am
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    The only web figures that count are those that show much money all this clicks make.
    Not as much as expected I suspect.

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  • December 15, 2017 at 10:36 am
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    Although my natural instincts almost always lie on the other side of the fence, I’m a fan of David Higgerson.
    At least he’s prepared to offer something rather than nothing, and he’s also prepared to put his head above the parapet.
    He deserves to be commended for that.
    However, on this occasion, he goes too far and I’ve no doubt he is being ‘economical with the truth’.
    The only logical reason why TM has taken this step can only be that while growth generally is upwards, there are individual sites that have either plateaued or more likely declined.
    This, of course, goes against the narrative of ever-increasing digital growth for individual titles that TM would like to peddle.
    You can see why they have done it – it is only natural not to want the public to know that one of their major newspapers is losing it’s digital pulling power – but it is churlish of them to claim otherwise.
    Frankly, this “our advertisers told us”‘ line, is laughable at best, grossly insulting to our intelligence at worst.
    How dare they treat us with such contempt and assume we’ll accept this BS at face value?
    It damages their credibility, (and David’s) in making this claim.
    Better they had tried to argue that the latest results are disappointing but they are sure this is just a blip and they are determined to do better.
    If TM are looking to make further cost cuttings before Christmas, I suggest they leave off the journalists for once, and hand out the P45s to whoever was responsible for this latest statement.
    Hope this helps. :-)
    P.S. If TM want to blow my claims out of the water, the best way would be publish the full monthly results of individual titles. That would show me.

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  • December 15, 2017 at 11:48 am
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    Hi ExArgus, if you’re a fan, I’d best stay away from the people who think less of me!

    It’s obviously entirely up to you whether or not you want to believe me, I can only share what I know to be true.

    As you’ll have seen from previous releases, month to month performance can go up and can go down, but the long-term trend for all of our titles is one of growth – both in terms of absolute number of readers and also the amount of time they spend with us (which ABCes never revealed).

    The % increase over time does reduce, but that’s because the growth is on top of a bigger base number from the previous year.

    Advertisers – and again up to you whether you want to believe it or not, but worth asking why I’d bother to come on here to make something up, when it would be far easier to say nothing at all! – tend not to care about growth metrics, they want to see size of potential audience to reach. Again, ABCe only give a snippet of that information.

    I know it’s much more fun to believe there’s a hidden reason behind this, but there isn’t above what’s been said. At the end of the day, we’re reporting 19% up on a busy November last year.

    To me, it’s a bit ‘damned if we do, damned if we don’t.’ Every month, the numbers are reported here and get a near universal chorus of criticism from the community on here: “What’s the point?” “Where’s the money” “It’s all clickbait” and so on, yet not publishing them prompts concerns about not seeing important data.

    @alongtheshore – advertisers do see the real numbers, and they also see the numbers which are most relevant to their business needs.

    @saddenedjourno I’ve never been convinced story count was a good indicator of quality or value for the reader, so I’m not sure that’s relevant. It’s easy to dismiss people who don’t agree with you as ‘yes’ men or women, but I’m not sure it achieve anything?

    I’m not sure regional newsrooms abandoned readers by pursuing online audiences, or were wrong to respond to the immediacy of news on social media. What would have happened if we’d ignored what readers were doing? It’s often comforting to believe we’ve inflicted our problems on ourselves, but I don’t think the evidence stacks up to support that belief.

    But maybe I’m just an ill-informed ‘yes man’….

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  • December 15, 2017 at 12:34 pm
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    David Higgerson should have realised by now that you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people……etc, etc

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  • December 15, 2017 at 4:10 pm
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    “maybe I’m just an ill-informed ‘yes man”

    You read it here first folks!

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  • December 15, 2017 at 8:45 pm
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    @davidhiggerson

    One thing that dawned on me today was that on all the platforms you have previously shared L4L figures on I have never actually seen a ‘local’ advert on there once for my geographical title. Do you not see the irony in this seeing as you are supposed to be producing Local media?

    But once more the race is on to be centralised even though it’s continuously shown over the last 10 years+ that forgetting you are a local business has hastened the demise of this industry.

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  • December 15, 2017 at 10:55 pm
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    Smoke and mirrors – As the regionals have moved to Facebook Instant Articles then their page views will have dropped dramatically – they’re two years too late to the party, many US titles have already deserted that method – the views are within the FB ecosystem, not to the site – the most recent ABC showed this on our local TM title. This move is for that reason be sure. The advertisers locally – is there are any now, probably haven’t realised that their ads are not within FB IAs. Also I would suggest that the endless surveys probably counted as false clicks anyway as people desperately wrangled them to actually read a story. DH I’m afraid talks well but appears to have never visited the regional TM sites Facebook Pages to read want people say, and appears completely out of touch.

    In addition the last month has seen lots of TM national syndicated stories on regionals – not even with a local angle – this I think is because pvs have dropped because of the FB publishing platform. And even several ‘Ten attractions within 2 hours of x town’

    Our hyperlocal indie has lots of local business ads, good prices for them – no trash or distractions and is loved by the community or serves.

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  • December 16, 2017 at 10:30 pm
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    It’s simple. Monthly ABCs were a complete waste of time and money. I think I’m right in saying that no other regional groups do them.

    Oh and advertisers couldn’t give a monkey’s. Anyone who knows anything about digital advertising will realise that, unlike print, advertisers don’t buy the entire audience anyway.

    The real story here is the woeful print advertising performance and the inadequate digital revenue growth. ABCs are completely irrelevant.

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  • December 18, 2017 at 10:57 pm
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    Hi @hawkdown. I do spend quite a lot of time on the Facebook pages of our titles, and do see the objections raised to various advertising formats, amongst other things. I also think it’s important we explain what we do, and why, to the people who matter most: our readers.

    I don’t recognise your interpretation of Facebook Instant Articles. Site performance can go up or down month to month, and occasionally down year on year if we’d had an exceptional year the previous year, but overall, audience numbers (in terms of absolute visitors) are going up, with loyal visitor numbers (ie those visiting regularly) rising faster, and the pages views and time spent on a page rising faster than that too.

    We have had no change in approach to stories which are shared across titles in the last couple of months – and still adopt the same approach we have for maybe 2 years: If a story, to an editor, will be of interest to local readers, we should consider publishing it.

    So I know there are some people who raise objections, but balanced against the wide range of feedback we get from readers – be that via audience data looking at engagement, comments, or other communication – I think we’re getting it right for the majority of readers, and hopefully can make things better for those currently unhappy too.

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