MEDIA: Regionals suffer readership drop

Regional papers have suffered their biggest fall in circulation in four years, according to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations figures.

Regional papers have suffered their biggest fall in circulation in

four years, according to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations

figures.



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

slowed dramatically.



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.



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