Changing consumption patterns of Welsh news

Michael Haggett reports on a shift from print to web readership of our newspapers






Welsh-news1

The latest circulation figures for the Welsh newspapers have recently been published and shown in Table 1 below. The figures are for the first half of 2013, compared with the same period last year. More detail is available from ABC by entering the name of the paper in the Certificate Finder search box.

Table 1: Welsh newspaper daily circulation – for first half of 2013

Newspaper

Readership

% paid for

% fall in circulation compared with first half of 2012

 

Wrexham Leader

14,322

100

6.5

 

Western Mail

23,723

94.6

6.7

North Wales Daily Post

28,331

100

7.4

 

South Wales Argus

19,748

100

7.9

 

S0uth Wales Echo

27,700

100

8.2

South Wales Evening Post

33,479

98.2

8.6

 

Wales on Sunday

23,416

100

12.4

Source: Hold the Front Page, 28 August 2013

There’s nothing particularly remarkable about any of these figures. They simply show a continuation of the same general decline in printed newspaper circulation that has been apparent for some years. Only one newspaper in the whole of the UK has managed to buck the trend.

But it isn’t all doom and gloom. The real question is whether people are getting the same news from the web editions of these newspapers instead and, thankfully, that information is also available. Table 2 gives the Welsh figures:

Table 2: daily unique browsers for web editions of Welsh newspapers for first half of 2013

Website

Daily unique browsers

% increase compared with first half of 2012

www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk

24,362

46

www.walesonline.co.uk

63,972

16.7

www.dailypost.co.uk

17,973

14.6

Source: Hold the Front Page, 28 August 2013

Again, the figures are for the first half of 2013, compared with the same period last year. Across the UK, all but four of the newspaper websites showed an increase. These figures aren’t directly comparable with the print figures – for example the WalesOnline figure will include combined content from the Western Mail, the South Wales Echo and Wales on Sunday. However, all in all, the increase in online readership more than compensates for the loss of print readership, which is encouraging and healthy from the point of view of informing the public about news and current affairs. Table 3 shows the relative gain three newspaper groups made when comparing their online gains with their print losses

Table 3: Gains and loses of newspaper print and online editions, for first half of 2013

Newspaper

Print loss

Online gain

Difference

 

South Wales Evening Post

2,835

7,676

4,841

 

Western Mail/South Wales Echo/Wales on Sunday

7,493

9,155

1,662

 

North Wales Daily Post

2,264

2,289

25

But there are still questions to be asked. For example I think that people who buy a printed paper are likely to read all or most of its content. On the other hand online readership will tend to be more focused on fewer pages. And of course there is also the question of how to make money from online editions … especially when people (like me) block the advertisements.

Michael Haggett blogs regularly on Welsh matters at Syniadau, where this post first appeared.