Media: Sales decline further at Bristol newspapers

September 2, 2011

From Bristol 24-7

Consumers’ shift from newsprint to online to find local news shows no sign of stopping according to the latest official readership figures for the Bristol Evening Post and Western Daily Press.

The average daily sale of the Post fell 7.6% to 38,344 copies in the year from June 2010 to June 2011. However, readership of its online outlet rose 21.8% to 471,022 unique visitors a month over the same period.

Meanwhile, sister newspaper the Western Daily Press, which covers a wider area, continued its rapid fall in sales, dropping 11% to 28,322 daily sales. The paper does not have on online version.

Both titles are part of Northcliffe, the Daily Mail group’s regional publishing arm. Journalist jobs have been cut heavily in recent years as sales have tumbled and articles are increasingly shared between papers to reduce costs. The Post has suffered a sales fall of 12.9% over the past two years while the circulation at the Press, which has borne the brunt of the cost cuts, has declined more rapidly – 21.5% down over two years.

Nationwide, newspaper websites saw an overall rise in average daily unique browsers of 25.2%, year-on-year.

But while audience growth is strong, there is little indication that advertising revenue from online outlets is replacing that lost by the traditional newspaper side of businesses.

Commenting on the results from ABC (the Audit Bureau of Circulations), group executive director of client services Jan Pitt said: “The Regional Newspaper groups continue to see healthy year-on-year and period-on-period increases for their online activity.

“The year-on-year audited figures show that regional newspaper online networks grew their daily average unique browsers by 25.2%. This is a great showcase for their importance as a source of local news and information in their communities.”

Alan Renwick, a former Grampian TV analyst, was recently appointed publisher at Northcliffe’s Bristol News and Media (BNM) operation, which publishes the Post and Press, following a management shake-up.


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