Regional papers have suffered their biggest fall in circulation in
four years, according to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations
Total circulation fell by 1.8 per cent in 1998/99, compared to 0.5 per
cent the previous year. This was the biggest fall since a 2.2 per cent
drop five years ago.
The only paid for regional papers which show increased readership are
the weeklies, but even they saw growth fall from a five-year high of one
per cent in 1997/98 to 0.1 per cent last year.
For the first time the figures include papers like the Scotsman, the
Daily Record and the Evening Standard, which are usually counted as
nationals rather than regionals. Some of these papers have seen heavy
falls in the last year. Scotland on Sunday, for example, lost 12.7 per
cent of its circulation in the last period. However, overall growth has
While half of the morning regionals were growing in 1997/98, only 18 per
cent were last year.
Newspaper Society marketing director Chris Stanley said: ’There is so
much more media choice for people these days, yet still only 24 hours in
the day. Shrinking audiences are a fact of life for most media.’
He said the challenge for regional publishers was to expand their
service into other media. Over 85 per cent of regionals are now on line,
and together attract 15 million page impressions a week.