Regional newspapers no longer fit for fish and chips

If the UK's fishing industry has had a tough time, not as tough our our regional newspaper industry in recent years!

MHWPR-fish-chips.jpg

Regional newspapers are in deep, troubled waters; this will be no surprise to media watchers this last decade. Changing customer behaviours and the huge impact of the internet on 'news brands' - as we must now call them - has been quite staggering.

But every time we see the latest audited sales figures from the industry monitoring organisation, ABC, the figures seem all the more stark and the decline all the more accelerated. Look at the latest figures for the big daily newspapers in North East England:

NE Press sales 2016 by MHW PR.JPG

Wow! This massive rate of decline is not slowing and is clearly not sustainable.

Media owners are quick to announce they understand the new landscape and that print falls are being offset in readership terms by significant website growth. Hmmm, let's quickly review:

NE news website growth 2016.JPG

Clearly, for some there is strong website growth; readers are jumping online from print. Newcastle's ChronicleLive is one of the UK's most successful online news platforms. But this is not necessarily true across the board.

Some media owners - like Johnston Press - are losing print sales and seeing a worrying decline in online visitors. Many of these smaller regional newspapers have faced job cuts and they along with their poor websites have received little, if any, investment. This is a spiral to the bottom.

More worryingly, for the wider industry is that even when there is significant investment and website growth the digital advertising return is not halting overall revenue declines.

Right now the future looks bleak for regional news brands, both online and offline.

The first to come up with a new business model will quickly control the market ... but in the meantime... back to my soggy fish and chips ...

 

 

 

Written by Wayne Halton at 00:00

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MHW 2013

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