Latest figures from ABC, the body that verifies the circulation
of most print, digital and broadcast media, shows a worrying
pattern for Newcastle's main newspapers.
Trinity Mirror, one of the UK's big regional newspaper groups,
owns Newcastle's two big dailies - The Journal and Chronicle; it
also produces the weekly red top, the Sunday Sun. Down in
Middlesbrough it prints The Gazette. For the purpose of this
short piece, we'll ignore some other products and the remaining
Herald & Post free weeklies on Teesside.
ABC figures show big year-on-year falls in print circulations
for the three big Newcastle titles. From November 2013 to November
2014, the Chronicle saw sales fall a massive 12per cent; The
Journal was down 10.3per cent, while the racy Sunday Sun fell by
7.4per cent for the same period. This is bad news for advertisers,
along with PR folk!
The Journal sells a daily average of only 16,858 copies; while
the Chronicle is 36,493. With such a rate of annual decline there
must come a tipping point for print. There is much speculation that
The Journal will change in content and focus, possibly becoming a
ncjMedia, the Newcastle subsidiary company of Trinity Mirror,
has in recent years been bullish about digital progress. It claims
strong and growing traffic to ChronicleLive.co.uk and
TheJournal.co.uk; dated figures from their own website claim the
Chronicle has more than 608,000 unique users on average per month
while The Journal has 320,000 plus. So, it seems the traditional
news brands are gaining traction with an online audience. There has
also been some success with social media.
However, what is less clear is whether ncjMedia is getting the
same advertising value online compared to print; the answer, it is
believed, is no.
Perhaps more worryinlgy, the latest ABC full month-on-month
figures (Oct 2014 - Nov 2014) that combine print and digital
editions show falls for both The Journal and Newcastle Chronicle.
That's bad news in a digital world.
So where next for our regional press, and particularly the big
Perhaps the recent management shake-up at ncjMedia reflected
some concern within Trinity Mirror. Clearly, changes need to be
made; titles need to be reviewed and refocussed to better reflect
the changing behaviour of how people consume news and
entertainment. This, it should be noted, also poses a challenge to
marketers and the PR industry.