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Regional Newspapers - UK - August 2016

“Willingness to pay for digital regional newspaper content is growing, particularly among younger people. As ad blockers create a new threat to digital advertising revenue, more regional titles may want to consider the option of implementing a soft paywall on select regional content.”
– Rebecca McGrath, Media Analyst

This report discusses the following key topics:

  • Monetisation options as ad blocker use increases 
  • Introducing new digital features

Regional/local newspapers continue to struggle, with print circulation falling further and more titles and jobs being lost. The quick closure of the major new regional print newspaper 24: The North’s National in July 2016 further demonstrated the difficulty of trying to find a print audience, with the exception of commuter-based free titles. Online publishers face the challenge of competing with the BBC’s regional coverage, although closer ties are being established between publishers and the organisation in order to help mitigate the potential impact on regional titles.

Publishers’ digital content, especially mobile content, has become the priority, as the industry adapts to modern news consumption habits. While only 15% of people currently read regional/local titles online, this figure continues to grow year-on-year and is higher among younger people. Even more encouraging for regional publishers is that willingness to pay for regional online content is also growing, and is significantly higher among younger readers. This suggests that soft paywalls, if implemented carefully and for the correct content and features, are potentially a viable monetisation option.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Print circulation continues to fall…
              • Figure 1: Forecast for annual circulation of print regional newspapers in the UK, 2011-21
            • … but online sees significant growth
              • Figure 2: Forecast for the volume of daily unique browsers of regional newspaper digital networks, 2011-21
            • Key players
              • Trinity Mirror acquires Local World
                • Trinity Mirror creates “Connected Newsroom”
                  • New Northern newspaper, 24, launched and closed by CN Group within 5 weeks
                    • Archant to launch over 60 newspaper and magazine apps
                      • The consumer
                        • Print is still the most popular format despite decline
                          • Figure 3: Formats read, June 2016
                        • Willingness to pay for digital grows
                          • Figure 21: Willingness to pay, June 2016
                        • Many are finding their news via social media
                          • Figure 4: Digital behaviour, June 2016
                        • People want personalised briefings
                          • Figure 5: Interest in digital features, June 2016
                        • Local adverts are preferred
                          • Figure 6: Preferred adverts, June 2016
                        • People want to keep their newspapers local
                          • Figure 7: Attitudes towards regional newspapers, June 2016
                        • What we think
                        • Issues and Insights

                          • Monetisation options as ad blocker use increases
                            • The facts
                              • The implications
                                • Introducing new digital features
                                  • The facts
                                    • The implications
                                    • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                      • Print circulation continues to fall
                                        • Online sees significant growth
                                          • The BBC to fund 150 local journalists
                                            • Ad blockers threaten advertising revenue
                                              • Publishers continue to increase cover prices
                                                • Buzzfeed covers more local news
                                                • Market Size and Forecast

                                                  • Print circulation continues to fall …
                                                    • Figure 8: Forecast for annual circulation of print regional newspapers in the UK, 2011-21
                                                    • Figure 9: Forecast for annual circulation of print regional newspapers in the UK, 2011-21
                                                  • … but online sees significant growth
                                                    • Figure 10: Forecast for the volume of daily unique browsers of regional newspaper digital networks, 2011-21
                                                    • Figure 11: Forecast for the volume of daily unique browsers of regional newspaper digital networks, 2011-21
                                                  • Forecast methodology
                                                  • Market Drivers

                                                    • Publishers continue to increase cover prices
                                                      • Figure 12: UK cover price for leading regional dailies, December 2014 and December 2015
                                                    • Mobile device ownership rises further
                                                      • Figure 13: Household ownership of consumer technology products, December 2015 and April 2016
                                                    • The BBC to fund 150 local journalists
                                                      • Ad blockers threaten advertising revenue
                                                        • Buzzfeed covers more local news
                                                          • Brexit boosts print market
                                                          • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                                            • Evening titles see greatest print declines
                                                              • Trinity Mirror leads the way online
                                                                • Trinity Mirror acquires Local World
                                                                  • New Northern newspaper, 24, launched and closed by CN Group within 5 weeks
                                                                    • Archant to launch over 60 newspaper and magazine apps
                                                                      • Johnston Press introduces more native advertising
                                                                        • Trinity Mirror leads the way with aggregators
                                                                        • Market Share

                                                                          • Evening titles see greatest declines
                                                                            • Figure 14: Average print circulation for leading print titles, December 2014 and December 2015
                                                                          • Significant decline for paid weekly papers while free papers remain stable
                                                                            • Figure 15: Average circulation of Top 10 free weekly regional newspaper newspapers, December 2014 and December 2015
                                                                            • Figure 16: Average circulation of top 10 paid weekly regional newspapers, December 2014 and December 2015
                                                                          • Trinity Mirror leads the way online
                                                                            • Figure 17: Leading press online networks, daily unique browsers, 2011-15
                                                                          • Trinity Mirror acquires Local World
                                                                          • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                            • New Northern newspaper 24 launched and closed by CN Group within five weeks
                                                                              • Archant to launch over 60 newspaper and magazine apps
                                                                                • Trinity Mirror creates ‘Connected Newsroom’
                                                                                  • Johnston Press to focus on native advertising
                                                                                    • Trinity Mirror launches more city websites
                                                                                      • Trinity Mirror leads the way with aggregators
                                                                                        • Print titles given a fresh look
                                                                                          • More hyper-local newspapers launched in Bristol
                                                                                            • Archant introduces pop-up paper for Remain-heavy areas
                                                                                              • Family tailored website introduced by KM Group
                                                                                              • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                • Further declines in print readers
                                                                                                  • More people are willing to pay for digital
                                                                                                    • Many are finding their regional news via social media
                                                                                                      • Personalised briefings are a popular digital feature
                                                                                                        • Many have already used an ad blocker
                                                                                                          • The BBC is an important source for regional news
                                                                                                            • People are far more interested in local adverts
                                                                                                              • The preference is for keeping content local
                                                                                                              • Formats of Regional News Read

                                                                                                                • Further declines in print readers
                                                                                                                  • Figure 18: Formats read, June 2016
                                                                                                                • Readership still skews older
                                                                                                                  • Figure 19: Format read, by age, June 2016
                                                                                                                • Younger print readers more interested in moving to digital
                                                                                                                  • Figure 20: Interest in reading digital, by age, June 2016
                                                                                                              • Willingness to Pay

                                                                                                                • Willingness to pay for print remains stable …
                                                                                                                  • Figure 21: Willingness to pay, June 2016
                                                                                                                • … but willingness to pay for digital grows
                                                                                                                  • Figure 22: Willingness to pay, by age, June 2016
                                                                                                              • Digital Behaviour

                                                                                                                • Majority go to the BBC for regional news
                                                                                                                  • Figure 23: Digital behaviour, June 2016
                                                                                                                • Many are finding their regional news via social media
                                                                                                                  • Ad blockers are becoming a threat
                                                                                                                  • Interest in Digital Features

                                                                                                                    • People want personalised briefings
                                                                                                                      • Figure 24: Interest in digital features, June 2016
                                                                                                                    • Video should be a centrepiece of online content
                                                                                                                      • A third of men want videos of local sports teams
                                                                                                                        • Figure 25: Interest in video of local sports teams, by gender, June 2016
                                                                                                                      • Nearly half are interested in weather alerts
                                                                                                                      • Preferred Types of Advert

                                                                                                                        • Local adverts are preferred
                                                                                                                          • Figure 26: Preferred adverts, June 2016
                                                                                                                        • Men are more interested in national adverts
                                                                                                                          • Figure 27: Interest in national adverts, by gender, June 2016
                                                                                                                      • Attitudes towards Regional Newspapers

                                                                                                                        • People want to keep the focus local
                                                                                                                          • Figure 28: Attitudes towards regional newspapers, June 2016
                                                                                                                        • Younger people are more likely to want more national news
                                                                                                                          • Figure 29: Attitudes towards regional newspapers, by age, June 2016
                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                          • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                            • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                • Figure 30: Forecast for annual circulation of print regional newspapers in the UK, 2011-21
                                                                                                                                • Figure 31: Forecast for the volume of daily unique browsers of regional newspaper digital networks, 2011-21
                                                                                                                              • Forecast Methodology

                                                                                                                              Companies Covered

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                                                                                                                              Regional Newspapers - UK - August 2016

                                                                                                                              £1,995.00 (Excl.Tax)