Circulation figures for Britain’s regional newspapers fell year-on-year in all sectors, hit by media fragmentation and a move away from bulk distribution by several publishers.

Worst affected, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, were Sunday and evening titles. Not one of the top twenty evening papers in England recorded a year-on-year rise, while the biggest drop in the top ten (6.41%) was recorded by the Birmingham Evening Mail.

Many morning titles, among them the sector-leading Express & Star in the West Midlands, avoided bulk sales, affecting their headline totals. However, despite removing bulk distribution from their figures, The Scotsman and Irish News respectively managed year-on-year rises of 7.1% and 0.14% .

“While the number of copies in the market place has decreased, a higher proportion of regional newspapers are being actively purchased and 94.3 per cent are now being sold at full price,” commented Cathy Richards, Zenith Media’s regional media group director. “We fully support the move to reduce bulk sales and look forward to seeing it continue.”

Despite posting the first year-on-year drop (1.5%) in over five years, weeklies proved the strongest regional sector, with marginal increases in circulation for top two titles Essex Chronicle and Cornwall’s West Briton.

News source: CampaignLive (UK)