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ABC regionals: publisher reaction

On Wednesday, the ABC released the latest ABC Regional Publications Report.

Below is publisher reaction from: Herald & Times Group and Newsquest.

Herald & Times Group

The Sunday Herald’s circulation has risen by 33.8% during the period July to December 2014 to 32,021, outperforming the market and its rivals, as shown by Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) figures announced today.

With internal January 2015 sales figures also reflecting a 34% year-on-year increase, the improved circulation figures indicate a strong increase in market share versus other Scottish Sunday titles for the paper.

The Group continues to enjoy strong digital audience growth through “a strategy which is working”, said its management team.

HeraldScotland.com has increased its average monthly unique users from 1.4 million to 1.9 million during the period July to December 2014, representing a 40% increase. EveningTimes.co.uk has increased its digital readership from 439,200 to 649,499 – a 48% increase. This surge in digital audiences has been matched by a 78% rise in Herald & Times’ Scottish digital display advertising revenues during 2014 v 2013.

Although The Herald and The Evening Times have experienced decreases in ABC circulation statistics, the Group’s own internal sales figures reflect a slowing rate of decline for the Evening Times and a net increase in The Herald readers when paid-for digital subscription is included.

Group managing director Tim Blott said: “It is important to look at the ABC statistics in the context of a changing media landscape, where readers and news brands alike are evolving how they access and share information. While there will be the normal rash of people out there using these market figures to say newspapers are dead, we’re glad to demonstrate this is not the case.

“Our news brand reach is growing overall with an increasing digital audience across our main titles and improving print circulation figures for The Sunday Herald. We’re outperforming the market and our rivals because we understand our readers and provide news and content which is relevant, informative, insightful and entertaining.

“This is a huge, unrivalled and sustained success, and I commend our staff while thanking our readers in helping us in achieving it.”

Newsquest

Newsquest Media Group today released its July to Dec 2014 ABC website audit which reports that an average of 1,099,427 unique browsers accessed its network of 144 local media sites every day – year-on-year growth of 50.3%.

Mark Smith, Newsquest’s Digital Director said: “Coming on top of 46% growth in the first half of 2014 we’re delighted with the results we’re seeing. It’s a vindication of the investment we’re making in our digital team and products and the increasing focus our editorial teams are placing on digital across the UK.

“We’re seeing a lot of growth from mobile devices, particularly smartphones, but desktop audiences are still increasing too. We expect to see more growth as we continue to develop our products and content in 2015.”