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JP dailies post circulation rises as ABC figures unveiled

Wigan newTwo Johnston press dailies have posted year-on-year circulation increases in the ABC figures for the second half of 2017 published today.

The Wigan Post saw its average circulation leap by 42pc in the period July to December 2017 compared to the same period the previous year, aided by a part paid-for part-free model which saw 41pc of copies distributed free.

Flagship daily The Scotsman also posted an increase of 2pc, with 76pc of the copies paid-for.

The next best performing English title was the Derby Telegraph – Newspaper of the Year at last year’s Regional Press Awards – which posted a 4pc decrease in sales, while its near-neighbour and Trinity Mirror stablemate the Burton Mail was down 6pc.

In terms of absolute sale, today’s figures also saw Wolverhampton’s Express & Star cede its long-held title as the biggest selling UK regional daily.

Its average daily sale of 47,669 is now some 550 copies behind that of DC Thomson’s Press & Journal with 48,208.

Best-performing title in the Newsquest group was Brighton daily The Argus, which arrested a succession of steep circulation declines over recent years with a fall of just 5pc.

Outside of the big groups, the Irish News saw its sales drop 4pc while the Belfast Telegraph and Dundee daily The Courier were both down 9pc.

The poorest performing daily – also a JP title – was the Leeds-based Yorkshire Evening Post which saw its circulation slump 29pc to 11,494.

Full figures for all UK regional dailies, in order of year-on-year change, are as follows:

Title Jul-Dec ABC YoY change
Wigan Post 3,370 42%
The Scotsman 19,792 2%
Derby Telegraph 18,106 -4%
Irish News 34,082 -4%
The Argus, Brighton 10,581 -5%
Burton Mail 7,365 -6%
Greenock Telegraph 8,959 -6%
Paisley Daily Express 4,508 -6%
The National 9,746 -6%
Press & Journal 48,208 -7%
Western Daily Press 14,472 -7%
Nottingham Post 16,304 -7%
Oxford Mail 9,494 -7%
Southend Echo 16,977 -8%
Swindon Advertiser 8,828 -8%
Worcester News 6,574 -8%
Belfast Telegraph 36,403 -9%
Colchester Daily Gazette 8,859 -9%
Dorset Echo 9,331 -9%
The Courier, Dundee 35,813 -9%
Edinburgh Evening News 16,660 -9%
Yorkshire Post 21,817 -9%
South Wales Argus 9,796 -9%
The Bolton News 8,737 -9%
Bournemouth Daily Echo 12,289 -10%
The Northern Echo 21,498 -10%
Plymouth Herald 14,681 -10%
The Herald, Glasgow 25,869 -10%
The Press, York 13,104 -10%
South Wales Echo 13,394 -10%
Bradford Telegraph & Argus 12,382 -11%
North Wales Daily Post 19,842 -11%
Dundee Evening Telegraph 13,321 -11%
East Anglian Daily Times 14,101 -11%
News Letter 13,710 -11%
Western Morning News 17,629 -11%
Aberdeen Evening Express 22,736 -12%
Glasgow Evening Times 20,874 -12%
Leicester Mercury 22,794 -12%
Sheffield Star 14,716 -12%
Southern Daily Echo 14,491 -12%
The Post, Bristol 15,271 -12%
The Western Mail 13,419 -12%
Lancashire Telegraph 8,426 -12%
Birmingham Mail 16,626 -13%
Grimsby Telegraph 14,334 -13%
Hull Daily Mail 23,456 -13%
Liverpool Echo 38,474 -13%
The Sentinel 23,249 -13%
Express & Star 47,669 -14%
Newcastle Journal 10,789 -14%
Shropshire Star 23,110 -14%
South Wales Evening Post 18,029 -14%
Sunderland Echo 11,075 -14%
The Gazette, Blackpool 8,187 -14%
Ipswich Star 8,620 -15%
Lancashire Post 9,100 -15%
Huddersfield Daily Examiner 10,418 -16%
Manchester Evening News 39,422 -16%
Newcastle Chronicle 22,401 -16%
Eastern Daily Press 28,970 -16%
Cambridge News 10,808 -17%
Teesside Gazette 17,557 -17%
Hartlepool Mail 4,183 -18%
Norwich Evening News 7,507 -18%
Portsmouth News & Sports Mail 16,277 -18%
Shields Gazette 4,602 -18%
Coventry Telegraph 12,256 -19%
Carlisle News and Star East 5,381 -20%
The Mail 6,058 -22%
Carlisle News and Star West 2,026 -24%
Yorkshire Evening Post 11,494 -29%




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  • March 1, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    Lots of good honest JP weeklies are still paying the outrageous price the company paid for the Scotsman. You won’t hear them cheering.

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  • March 1, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    Is this the first time the Express & Star has lost its ‘Britain’s biggest-selling regional daily’ crown?

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  • March 1, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    Paul Linford – If you look at the certificate, you will see less than 10,000 of the Scotsman copies were at full price, rest were discounted and free – Not stated in the story.

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  • March 1, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    The Express & Star has consistently declined and is now no longer Britain’s biggest selling daily.
    The editor and past editor should reflect on how they ran their newsroom and the behaviours that forced quality journalists to go elsewhere.
    Sad times. The decline of the local press across the country is not solely down to online competition etc. Its down to poor standards driven by constant cost cutting by small minded companies seeking to maintain profit margins. No innovation, no link with the real audience or an attempt to understand them and what they want.
    This generation of editors have brought it all on themselves.

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  • March 1, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    I’m pretty sure it’s not the first time the P&J has sold more than the E&S. Think the Aberdeen daily was ahead in the early 1990s but in those days the sales figures were well over 100,000 — more than double what they are now.

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  • March 1, 2018 at 5:21 pm

    So depressing is the industry the fashion today is to put spin on the continuing negatives stories. The two papers with gains should be excluded due to freebies/discounts. The rèal story is the demise of the Yorkshire Evening Post. From highs of around 250,000 to 11,000 with nearly one in three readers turning their back in recent months. It’s print that has been paying for the web which can’t replicate the revenue so if anyone can see the way forward let me know (and the media executives who obviously don’t).

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  • March 1, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    I am staggered to see the latest awful ABC figures for Archants 2 Norfolk dailies, the EDP and EN, the DP has bottomed out at just 29,000 copies in a catchment of well over 800,000 people and with the Evening News now down to selling just 7,500 copies, this must cause alarm bells to ring and major decisions to be taken,as surely neither ailing paper can even be covering costs.
    To think how far the EDP has fallen and in such a short space of time is absolutely incredible.

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  • March 1, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    No surprise to see the Birmingham Mail selling so few in a city of a million people as cutback after cutback in staff, alongside redesign after redesign, has left such a dire-looking paper with a low story count of poor quality.
    Regarding the comments about the Yorkshire Evening Post and regarding the EDP/Norwich Evening News, it’s hardly ideal that the former city evenings-turned-dailies already had sister dailies covering the region from the same centre. Printing two morning papers was a dubious idea from the outset.

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  • March 1, 2018 at 8:00 pm

    @Nelson – I predict that within two years tops the NEN and the IS will have been incorporated into the EDP and EADT respectively, and it won’t be long after that that the two dailies will join forces, the East Anglian Daily Press perhaps, with localised fronts and backs – because they won’t be stupid enough to lead with Ipswich Town in Norfolk or Norwich City in Suffolk. Will they?

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  • March 1, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    The writing is on the wall, newspapers today are irrelevant. Sad to see my old paper the Shields Gazette down to 4,600 copies a day. Its days as an evening newspaper must be numbered… along with quite a few others…

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  • March 2, 2018 at 8:05 am

    Dave S brings up a key topic – what percentage of these ‘sales’ were giveaways.
    Lies, damn lies and statistics.
    I applaud the desire to go with the times and with digital, but as that’s not paying, allowing print to decline this badly is a clear sign the newspaper groups are involved in slash and burn tactics to drain every last penny from once proud brands.
    Without the investment in quality, web figures will follow except for clickbait and sport stories and the occasional big issue – but I see so many papers, that once boasted being first for news, being the last to know.
    Blissfully unaware of public opinion on key issues, blissfully unaware of news unfolding on their patch.
    And not interested when you pass stories on, as I have found this last year or so.
    Sad. Sad. And desperately sad.

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  • March 2, 2018 at 10:23 am

    Year after year we see these disastrous figures, what do the owners do? Keep ratcheting up the cover charge. If you want to sell more copies you should cut the price partially or altogether. The Yorkshire Evening Post is a case in point, after numerous ‘re-launches’, they have just raised the price to 82p! Why would you buy a regional daily on sale at dawn when, for less money, you can get a full national?

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  • March 2, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    What other industry, anywhere, ever, expects consumers to go out of their way to buy its product (a newspaper) yet gives them the exact same product, packaged up differently (the website), for free?

    Which would you choose? Go out on a wet and windy morning/evening to buy a loaf of bread or wait for the bakery to post a few slices through your door each hour?

    ‘Mmmm, this bread I get for free is really good so I must go out and pay for it instead’. I think not…

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  • March 2, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    Over the past months,and years;justified criticism of newspaper owners was prevalent.
    I have yet to see a practical solution to encourage the public to buy regional papers to connect with their community.
    This may be because generally people do not care about whats happening locally and are only interested in themselves.

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  • March 2, 2018 at 8:13 pm

    The figures we should be looking at are overall audience including online. These are times of change. We need to see the full picture. Including free copy sales is fine, nationals have done this for years, it is audience but also include online for these titles. The world is changing and we too must adapt. Local news is trusted, trust in it – there is a future for it but it is different to what we have known before. Change is a stranger we have yet to know.

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  • March 3, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    Looking at the aggregate volumes for the major publishers it appears that Newsquest dailies have done better than the rest of the market. It is difficult to make a meaningful comparison as abc now allows free and heavily discounted copies to be included. My old colleagues in Birmingham will be smarting at the demise of the once mighty Mail.

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  • March 5, 2018 at 7:59 am

    The Wigan Post started giving away 41% of its circulation, and then saw circulation rise by 42%. Quelle surprise!

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  • March 5, 2018 at 5:38 pm

    take away the bulk Scotsman dumped in airports and the rest of the frees dished out then the figures will not be so rosy

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  • March 6, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    Some of these titles must be in their death throes as they cannot continue to accrue rising costs against poor advertising revenues and this level of crippling copy sale losses time after time.
    I can see many titles going to the wall as it just can’t be viable to keep propping papers which have lost their audiences.
    It’s whether they accept what the figures are telling them or if they’re still prepared to keep throwing good money after bad and if so for how much longer?

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