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Regional newspaper ABCs show impact of coronavirus lockdown on papers

Posted on: August 11, 2020 by Mariella Brown

Regional dailies experienced on average a loss of 10-20 per cent of newspaper circulation under the Covid-19 lockdown, the latest newspaper ABCs reveal.

Dundee-based daily The Courier and Liverpool’s Echo experienced a dip in circulation of just seven and eight per cent respectively under the lockdown figures given from 23 March to 28 June.

However, titles more heavily affected by the lockdown include Reach-owned Manchester Evening News where the circulation declined by over half (53%) and the MNA’s Express & Star by 36 per cent.

The MEN went from being 51 per cent paid-for to 97 per cent almost overnight, according to reports by Press Gazette.

The lockdown led to a fall in the distribution of free copies of the papers as commuters stayed at home during the peak of the crisis: an effect seen in the national newspaper ABCs reported last month.

The auditor published two sets of figures showing how regional papers fared overall for the first six months of the year, along with separate figures for the Covid-19 lockdown covering 23 March to 28 June.  

A statement by Reach on their titles’ Covid-19 period certificates says: “From April onwards the government’s lockdown measures have impacted on casual sales levels due to both the disruption to our readers’ purchasing habits and temporary closure of a significant number of retailers.

“We have however seen considerable demand for home delivered services and our weekend editions have remained more robust than the sale for the rest of the week.”

The full figures are available on Press Gazette.