No great surprises for Yorkshire’s daily papers in the figures released today by the Audit Bureau of Circulation: the steady slide in sales continued during the second half of 2015.
It’s a sort of sad milestone for Johnston Press (an expected one, though) as two of its city papers – the Yorkshire Evening Post and the Sheffield Star – both dropped below average daily sales of 20,000 for the first time.
The Yorkshire Evening Post is now shifting nearly 15,000 fewer papers a day than it was five years ago, as you can see below.
Some disappointment too, I’d guess, at the latest web traffic figures for the YEP’s sister paper, the Yorkshire Post. A year-on-year increase of just 7% is pretty small beer for Yorkshire’s “national” paper.
Never mind, the paper got a revamped site – “a new website for a modern Yorkshire ” – just last December. Maybe that’ll do the trick. (Check the video on the link. Go on.)
Here are the online stats for the county’s dailies.
To put the local figures in some perspective, here’s the growth in traffic for some of England’s other leading city dailies.
It’s not just that our two Leeds papers languish at the bottom of the list in terms of growth, but the total number of people going to their sites each day is way lower than in Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.
How do you explain this relatively poor performance? Well, notwithstanding the latest growth at the Sheffield Star, owners Johnston Press have been left some way behind by rivals Trinity Mirror in the development of mass online traffic (all four big hitters in the list above belong to Trinity Mirror).
How have they done it? As we’re constantly being told, having a strong presence on social media – Facebook in particular – helps.
So, here’s how those city papers listed above do on Facebook and Twitter. You’ll see that our two Leeds papers are fairly strong on Twitter, but much less so on Facebook.
It’s not the only answer, of course, but a weak Facebook presence can’t help. I’m sure the online boffins and social media gurus at Johnston Press are looking into it.