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Regional Newspapers - UK - March 2013

“Finding a technology platform that will automatically adapt itself to the type of device the content is being viewed on is becoming of paramount importance and ultimately could dictate whether or not digital operations can operate at a profitable level.”

– Michael Oliver, Senior Leisure & Media Analyst

Some questions answered in this report include:

  • How can regional newspaper publishers make the most of rising mobile device ownership?
  • How can publishers respond to declining print revenues?
  • How should publishers monetise their digital audience?
  • What kind of content should publishers be focusing on?

The regional newspapers industry continues to suffer from the double whammy of declining circulations in their core business of print newspapers combined with shrinking advertising revenues impacted by weak advertiser confidence and leakage to pure-play websites.

The main positive story for the industry is the continued strong growth being seen in the digital audience, which has nearly doubled between 2008 and 2012. However, with digital audiences generating lower advertising revenues, it will require a substantial further increase in visitor numbers before this growth begins to compensate for the loss of the print audience.

This report examines the current status of the market in terms of sales trends, sales by type and frequency of title, market shares, product innovation and consumer attitudes and behaviour.

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Definition
        • Abbreviations
        • Executive Summary

            • The market
              • Figure 1: Forecast trends in circulation for regional newspapers*, 2007-17
            • Market factors
              • Figure 2: Technology ownership* levels, January 2013
            • Companies, brands and innovation
              • Figure 3: Top ten regional newspaper groups, by weekly circulation numbers, December 2012
            • The consumer
              • Digital penetration of local/regional titles lags behind
                • Figure 4: News sources used, December 2012
              • Paid-for titles preferred over freesheets
                • Figure 5: Types of local/regional newspaper read, December 2012
              • Making it easy to read local/regional news is key
                • Figure 6: Attitudes towards local/regional newspapers, December 2012
              • Two fifths believe articles are influenced by advertisers
                • Figure 7: Agreement with statements about local/regional newspapers, December 2012
              • Readers want more local news
                • Figure 8: Changes to balance of local/regional newspaper content desired by readers, December 2012
              • Half of news users would pay to access local/regional digital content
                • Figure 9: Attitudes towards paying for digital local/regional news, December 2012
              • Unlimited access subscription is favoured payment method
                • Figure 10: Preferred payment method for digital news, by paid-for local/regional newspaper read, December 2012
              • What we think
              • Issues in the Market

                  • How can regional newspaper publishers make the most of rising mobile device ownership
                    • How can publishers respond to declining print revenues?
                      • How should publishers monetise their digital audience?
                        • What kind of content should publishers be focusing on?
                        • Trend Application

                            • Trend: Carnivore, Herbivore… Locavore
                              • Trend: Make it Mine
                                • Mintel Futures: Access Anything, Anywhere
                                • Market Drivers

                                  • Key points
                                    • Continuing broadband growth drives switch to digital
                                      • Figure 11: Trends in broadband penetration, 2007-12
                                      • Figure 12: Technology products in household, January 2013
                                      • Figure 13: Personal technology ownership, September 2012
                                    • Regional titles are still good value for money
                                      • Figure 14: Basic UK cover price for leading regional dailies, July 2012
                                    • Monetising digital content
                                      • Government clamps down on town hall Pravdas
                                        • Local TV offers cross-media ownership possibilities
                                          • Free daily titles march on
                                            • Figure 15: Average daily distribution of audited free dailies*, 2007-12
                                        • Who’s Innovating?

                                          • Key points
                                            • Publishers seek to diversify away from the core product
                                              • Digital developments
                                                • Big focus on tablet apps in response to growing ownership levels
                                                  • Responsive technology to replace apps?
                                                    • Free dailies also encouraging digital migration
                                                      • Hyper-local and Citizen Journalism: the way of the future?
                                                        • The sweet smell of success
                                                        • Market Size and Forecast

                                                          • Key points
                                                            • Print circulation continues to fall…
                                                              • Figure 16: Trends in circulation and number of titles for regional newspapers*, 2006-12
                                                            • … while digital audience grows
                                                              • Figure 17: Trends in numbers of daily unique browsers for major regional news networks*, 2008-12
                                                            • Forecast
                                                              • Figure 18: Forecast trends in circulation for regional newspapers*, 2007-17
                                                          • Segment Performance

                                                            • Key points
                                                              • Economic weakness hits freesheets hardest
                                                                • Figure 19: Trends in the structure of the regional newspaper industry, by number of titles, 2007-12*
                                                                • Figure 20: Regional weekly circulation trends*, by frequency of publication, 2007-12
                                                              • Ad revenue slump hits titles where it hurts
                                                                • Figure 21: Trends in regional newspaper advertising revenues*, 2007-13
                                                              • Classified takes the biggest hit
                                                                • Figure 22: Trends in regional newspaper advertising revenues*, by type, 2007-13
                                                              • Recruitment and property advertising see the largest declines
                                                                • Figure 23: Trends in regional newspaper classified advertising revenues*, by type, 2006-11
                                                            • Market Share

                                                              • Key points
                                                                • Johnston Press is most prolific regional print publisher
                                                                  • Figure 24: Top ten regional newspaper groups, by numbers of titles published, December 2012
                                                                • Trinity Mirror the clear leader on print circulation
                                                                  • Figure 25: Top ten regional newspaper groups, by weekly circulation numbers, December 2012
                                                                • Johnston Press leads the digital race
                                                                  • Figure 26: Leading regional press online networks, daily unique browsers, 2010-12
                                                                • Morning daily titles hold up better than evenings
                                                                  • Figure 27: Circulation trends for leading daily regional newspaper titles, 2011-12
                                                              • Companies and Products

                                                                  • Trinity Mirror plc
                                                                      • Figure 28: Average net circulation figures for Trinity Mirror plc’s regional daily titles, 2011-12
                                                                      • Figure 29: Key financial data for Trinity Mirror plc, 2007-12
                                                                    • Gannett UK Ltd/Newsquest plc
                                                                        • Figure 30: Average net circulation of Newsquest’s daily regional titles, six months to June 2011-12
                                                                        • Figure 31: Key financial data for Gannett UK Limited, 2007-11
                                                                      • Local World
                                                                          • Figure 32: Average net circulation of Northcliffe Media Limited’s daily titles, six months to June 2011-12
                                                                          • Figure 33: Average net circulation of Iliffe News and Media’s regional daily titles, six months to June 2011-12
                                                                        • Johnston Press plc
                                                                          • Figure 34: Average net circulation of Johnston Press’ regional daily titles, six months to June 2011-12
                                                                          • Figure 35: Key financial data for Johnston Press plc, 2006-11
                                                                          • Figure 36: Johnston Press plc revenues by sector, HY 2011 vs HY 2012
                                                                          • Figure 37: Johnston Press plc advertising revenues by sector, HY 2011 vs HY 2012
                                                                        • Associated Newspapers Ltd/DMGT
                                                                            • Figure 38: Average net circulation, Metro, 2010-11
                                                                            • Figure 39: Key financials for Associated Newspapers Limited, 2007-11
                                                                          • Evening Standard Ltd
                                                                            • Figure 40: Average net circulation figures for London Evening Standard, Jan-Jun 2011-12
                                                                            • Figure 41: Key financials for Evening Standard Limited, 2010-11
                                                                          • Archant Ltd
                                                                              • Figure 42: Key financial data for Archant Ltd, 2007-11
                                                                            • DC Thomson & Co Ltd
                                                                              • Figure 43: Average net circulation figures for DC Thomson & Co ltd’s regional daily titles, 2011-12
                                                                              • Figure 44: Key financial data for DC Thomson & Company Ltd, 2011-12
                                                                            • The Midland News Association Ltd
                                                                                • Figure 45: Average net circulation of The Midland News Association’s daily regional titles, 2011-12
                                                                                • Figure 46: Key financials for The Midland News Association Limited, 2007-11
                                                                              • Tindle Newspapers Ltd
                                                                                  • Figure 47: Key financials for Tindle Newspapers Limited, 2011-12
                                                                              • Brand Communication and Promotion

                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                  • Advertising support for regional newspapers falls away
                                                                                    • Figure 48: Main monitored media adspend on regional newspapers, 2008-12
                                                                                  • Switch away from outdoor towards radio
                                                                                    • Figure 49: Main monitored media adspend for regional newspapers by media type, 2009-12
                                                                                  • Main media promotion is sporadic at best
                                                                                    • Figure 50: Main monitored media adspend for regional newspapers by top 10 titles 2009-12
                                                                                  • Radio chosen by most of the top ten advertisers
                                                                                    • Figure 51: Main monitored media adspend for regional newspapers by type for top 10 titles, 2012
                                                                                  • Social media adoption by regional newspapers is patchy
                                                                                    • Figure 52: Facebook “likes” and Twitter follower for selected regional newspapers, January 2013*
                                                                                • News Sources Used

                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                    • Digital penetration of local/regional titles lags behind
                                                                                      • Figure 53: News sources used, December 2012
                                                                                    • Print readers of local/regional newspapers
                                                                                      • Users of local/regional newspaper websites
                                                                                        • Users of local/regional newspaper apps
                                                                                          • Users of local/regional newspaper social media
                                                                                          • Types of Local/Regional Print Newspaper Read

                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                              • Paid-for titles preferred over freesheets
                                                                                                • Figure 54: Types of local/regional newspaper read, December 2012
                                                                                              • Weekly newspaper readers
                                                                                                • Morning newspaper readers
                                                                                                  • Evening newspaper readers
                                                                                                    • Website users more likely to also read paid-for print editions
                                                                                                      • Figure 55: Types of local/regional newspaper read, by news sources used (local/regional newspaper), December 2012
                                                                                                    • Considerable overlap between different publications
                                                                                                      • Figure 56: Types of local/regional newspaper read, by paid-for local/regional newspaper read, December 2012
                                                                                                      • Figure 57: Types of local/regional newspaper read, by free local/regional newspaper read, December 2012
                                                                                                  • Attitudes Towards Local/Regional News

                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                      • Making it easy to read local/regional news is key
                                                                                                        • Figure 58: Attitudes towards local/regional newspapers, December 2012
                                                                                                    • Attitudes Towards Local/Regional Newspapers

                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                        • Two fifths believe articles are influenced by advertisers
                                                                                                          • Figure 59: Agreement with statements about local/regional newspapers, December 2012
                                                                                                        • People who pay for local/regional news have strongest opinions
                                                                                                          • Figure 60: Agreement with statements about local/regional newspapers, by paid-for local/regional newspaper read, December 2012
                                                                                                          • Figure 61: Agreement with statements about local/regional newspapers, by free local/regional newspaper read, December 2012
                                                                                                      • Consumer Content Preferences

                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                          • Readers want more local news
                                                                                                            • Figure 62: Changes to balance of local/regional newspaper content desired by readers, December 2012
                                                                                                          • Local news appeals to an older demographic
                                                                                                            • Jobs a good way to attract a more youthful readership?
                                                                                                              • Culture offers potential to entice female readers
                                                                                                                • Motoring and sport prove divisive
                                                                                                                • Attitudes Towards Paying for Digital News

                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                    • Half of news users would pay to access local/regional digital content
                                                                                                                      • Figure 63: Attitudes towards paying for digital local/regional news, December 2012
                                                                                                                    • Daily paid-for readers most open to paying for digital local/regional news
                                                                                                                      • Figure 64: Attitudes towards paying for digital news, by paid-for local/regional newspaper read, December 2012
                                                                                                                      • Figure 65: Attitudes towards paying for digital news, by free local/regional newspaper read, December 2012
                                                                                                                  • Preferred Payment Method for Digital News

                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                      • Unlimited access subscription is favoured payment method
                                                                                                                        • Figure 66: Preferred payment method for digital news, by paid-for local/regional newspaper read, December 2012
                                                                                                                        • Figure 67: Preferred payment method for digital news, by free local/regional newspaper read, December 2012
                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                        • Figure 68: Market size forecast scenarios for regional newspapers, 2012-17
                                                                                                                    • Appendix – News Sources Used

                                                                                                                        • Figure 69: News sources used – Local/regional newspaper, by demographics, December 2012
                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Types of Local/Regional Newspaper Read

                                                                                                                        • Figure 70: Paid-for local/regional newspaper read, by demographics, December 2012
                                                                                                                        • Figure 71: Free local/regional newspaper read, by demographics, December 2012
                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Attitudes Towards Local/Regional News

                                                                                                                        • Figure 72: Most popular attitudes towards local/regional news, by demographics, December 2012
                                                                                                                        • Figure 73: Next most popular attitudes towards local/regional news, by demographics, December 2012
                                                                                                                        • Figure 74: Attitudes towards local/regional news, by paid-for local/regional newspaper read, December 2012
                                                                                                                        • Figure 75: Attitudes towards local/regional news, by free local/regional newspaper read, December 2012
                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Attitudes Towards Local/Regional Newspapers

                                                                                                                        • Figure 76: Attitudes towards local/regional newspapers, by demographics, December 2012
                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Consumer Content Preferences

                                                                                                                        • Figure 77: Changes to balance of local/regional newspaper content desired by readers of national news and regional news, by demographics, December 2012
                                                                                                                        • Figure 78: Changes to balance of local/regional newspaper content desired by readers of local news and local politics/council affairs, by demographics, December 2012
                                                                                                                        • Figure 79: Changes to balance of local/regional newspaper content desired by readers of property and jobs, by demographics, December 2012
                                                                                                                        • Figure 80: Changes to balance of local/regional newspaper content desired by readers of motoring and culture, by demographics, December 2012
                                                                                                                        • Figure 81: Changes to balance of local/regional newspaper content desired by readers of sport and business, by demographics, December 2012
                                                                                                                        • Figure 82: Changes to balance of local/regional newspaper content desired by readers of travel and letters to the editor, by demographics, December 2012
                                                                                                                        • Figure 83: Changes to balance of local/regional newspaper content desired by readers, by paid-for local/regional newspaper read, December 2012
                                                                                                                        • Figure 84: Changes to balance of local/regional newspaper content desired by readers, by free local/regional newspaper read, December 2012
                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Attitudes Towards Paying for Digital News

                                                                                                                        • Figure 85: Most popular attitudes towards paying for local/regional news, by demographics, December 2012
                                                                                                                        • Figure 86: Next most popular attitudes towards paying for local/regional news, by demographics, December 2012
                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Preferred Payment Method for Digital News

                                                                                                                        • Figure 87: Preferred payment method for digital news, by demographics, December 2012

                                                                                                                    Companies Covered

                                                                                                                    • Archant
                                                                                                                    • Associated Newspapers Ltd
                                                                                                                    • Claverley Group
                                                                                                                    • Daily Mail and General Trust Group plc
                                                                                                                    • DC Thomson & Co Ltd
                                                                                                                    • Dundee Courier & Advertiser
                                                                                                                    • Eastern Daily Press
                                                                                                                    • Evening Standard
                                                                                                                    • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                    • Gannett Co., Inc.
                                                                                                                    • Guardian Media Group
                                                                                                                    • Johnston Press plc
                                                                                                                    • Manchester Evening News
                                                                                                                    • Midland News Association Ltd (The)
                                                                                                                    • Newcastle Chronicle & Journal
                                                                                                                    • Reckitt Benckiser plc
                                                                                                                    • Sunderland Echo
                                                                                                                    • Tindle Newspapers Limited
                                                                                                                    • Trinity Mirror plc
                                                                                                                    • Twitter, Inc.
                                                                                                                    • Western Daily Press
                                                                                                                    • Western Morning News
                                                                                                                    • Yorkshire Post Newspapers Ltd

                                                                                                                    Regional Newspapers - UK - March 2013

                                                                                                                    US $2,583.33 (Excl.Tax)