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More woes for publishers

National slumps 29.9% as paper sales decline

The NationalSales of regional daily newspapers fell by  an average rate of 12.5% year-on-year, according to the latest audited figures.

Audit Bureau of Circulation data shows pro-independence paper The National, published by the Herald & Times, as one of the biggest fallers with circulation collapsing by 29.9% to just 8,946.

It was launched on the back of the euphoria surrounding the independence referendum in 2014 and it is thought many of those who took out long subscriptions have not renewed.

The Scotsman is down 14.5% to 19,449, The Herald by 10.2% at 28,872, the Dundee Courier by 8.6% at 39,324 and the Aberdeen Press & Journal 8.1% lower at 51,880.

In the six months from July to January, The Times Scotland sold fewer than 15,000 copies at full price, 8,400 in bulk sales and 4,600 as discounted subscriptions.

Some evening titles also fared badly. The Edinburgh Evening News has lost 15.8% of sales and has a circulation of 18,362.  The Glasgow Evening Times if 14.6% lower at 23,696 and the Aberdeen Evening Express is down 10,6% at 25,744.

Across the UK, Johnston Press had both the worst and best performing titles. The Wigan Evening Post was the fastest faller, dropping 36% year on year to an average of just 2,382 copies per night.

However, the Yorkshire Post, published in Leeds, fell by just 3.6% to 25,178.

In most cases, the decline in print sales is being offset by more readers choosing to access the titles online.

However, digital advertising is not growing fast enough for many to make up for the loss of sales and revenue decline of their print publications.

Sunday newspapers also saw declines. The Sunday Post sales dropped to 109,000 in the year to January.

The Sunday Mail, sister paper of the Daily Record, has fallen to 161,600.

Scotland on Sunday was a sharp faller, by 27%, to 16,200 average weekly sales in the second half of 2016.

The Sunday Herald was down 16% to 21,000. It overtook Scotland on Sunday in 2014, after backing the independence cause.

> The Oban Times has put its “premium” content behind a partial paywall.

Susan Windram, editor of the west of Scotland weekly, said: “Breaking news is free, but unique content we will preserve and protect behind a paywall.”

The move is part of a policy by owner Wyvex Media which publishes eight titles. The Oban Times, sells an average of 11,769 copies per week.

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