Good news on the digital front for Yorkshire’s newspapers to temper yesterday’s continuing bad news about their hard copy sales: latest figures released by the Audit Bureau of Circulation show all of them posting healthy increases in their online readership.
Particularly good news for the Yorkshire Post, which was actually losing online readers over the previous two accounting periods. The trend was reversed in the second half of 2013 and it’s now attracting 22.6% more unique browsers daily than it was a year ago (up to 22,647 from 18,479).
The paper’s website got a revamp in the middle of last year – one of the last of owners Johnston Press’s stable of regional papers to get a facelift. And it looks like it’s working.
There’s a re-design under way for the paper’s physical version too, Managing Editor Nicola Furbisher told a conference in Leeds today. It’ll be interesting to see whether that works a bit of magic too.
Are they making enough money, though?
They’re obviously doing something right at the Hull Daily Mail too, the biggest Yorkshire daily now in terms of both sales and online presence.
Not only are they losing sales slower than nearly very other Yorkshire daily (see below), they’re increasing their online readership faster, posting a 45% increase in both daily and monthly unique browsers.
What we don’t know, of course, is whether all this healthy growth in online activity is going to generate sufficient revenue to turn around the papers’ long-term fortunes.
Last we heard from Johnston Press – which includes the Yorkshire Post, Yorkshire Evening Post, Halifax Courier and Doncaster Star in its stable – was that digital revenues were up 13.3% in the first half of 2013, but total advertising revenue was down 13.6%. An update on the group’s financial performance is expected in March.
Here are the online stats. I’ve included the Halifax Courier, even though it’s a weekly. Just because it’s only available at the newsagent once a week doesn’t stop people going to the site whenever they like.
A quick reposting below of the stats in yesterday’s story, showing the decline in sales of the region’s daily papers, updated now with figures for the Huddersfield Examiner, which I couldn’t find yesterday.
Is there a special loyalty thing going on with Huddersfield’s daily paper? It’s losing sales at a slower rate than the other Yorkshire dailies, retaining daily sales that aren’t far off those of the Telegraph and Argus, the paper of a city (Bradford) with around twice as many people in it.
The number of unique browsers hitting the paper’s website every day isn’t that far from the number landing on the Yorkshire Post’s.
You can download a copy of the full online stats here.