Sales of all of Yorkshire’s daily newspapers continued to fall in the second half of last year, according to figures released today by the Audit Bureau of Circulation.
Among the biggest losers were two of the three Johnston Press dailies in our region. The Yorkshire Evening Post (YEP) saw its average daily print circulation fall year-on-year by 10.5% to 31,198. The Sheffield Star is down 10.9% to 31,992.
Decline at the third – the Yorkshire Post – was held to 6.4%.
To put the figures in a longer-term context, the YEP has lost over a third of its paying readers (17,866 or 36%) over the past five years (see table below), but still hasn’t worked out a way of making good money through its growing online presence.
And that presence, monetised or not, is growing pretty healthily for both the YEP (up 38% to 38,895 average daily unique browsers) and the Bradford Telegraph and Argus (up 30.7% to 27,847).
Online DOWN at Yorkshire Post
At a time when nearly every other regional paper is seeing growth online, the YP is attracting fewer people (in terms of unique browsers) to its website than it was a year ago (see panel).
Owner Johnston Press, which announced it was going “digital first” a year ago, will be hoping against hope that that’s just a hiccough, and that the planned re-launch of all its local websites in the coming months will work some magic.
Two questions that occur to me about our Leeds papers:
How far can the print circulation figures continue to slide before more journalist jobs are axed – 19 went last year in an editorial shake-up at the YEP and YEP; and how long will Johnston Press feel it can afford to carry on printing both papers.
Why are you and me buying our local papers less and less?
Former Newspaper Society president Chris Oakley has just given a pretty clear verdict. He was quoted yesterday as saying major regional newspaper groups are engaged in “a stampede to irrelevance”, leaving readers less well informed about what they need, want and ought to know.
Worth checking out. It’s here.
Here are the stats: