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Gloucestershire Business News

Sharp decline in local newspaper sales

Sales of all of Gloucestershire's newspapers have fallen in the last year, according to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulation figures.

The ABC figures for 2018 have been published by press and media website and show that sales of the county's papers fell from between 5 and 23 per cent.

The sharpest decline in circulation figures were suffered by the two publications that serve Gloucestershire's two biggest population centres.

The Gloucester Citizen saw its sales figure plummet by 23 per cent to 7,449 copies per week.

That means that the Citizen's figures fell below the level of its sister publication the Gloucestershire Echo, which fell by 20 per cent to 7,621 per week.

The Citizen and Echo made the switch to weekly publication in 2017, so these figures are the first full-year circulation numbers since the switch.

All of the county's other weekly papers who have figures published by ABC show a decline, but at a less severe level.

The Stroud News and Journal saw circulation fall by five per cent to 7,021 copies per week and sister publication the Dursley Gazette fell eight per cent to 6,774 copies per week.

The third paper in that group, the Wilts and Glos Standard saw an 11 per cent fall in sales to 5,596 copies per week.

The Forester sells 5,761 copies per week. As they don't report figures to the ABC, there is no record of previous sales.

The only daily newspaper to serve Gloucestershire - the Western Daily Press - sold 13,425 copies per day during the period, a decline of seven per cent from the previous 12 months.

Punchline says: "Whenever these figures are released, we always highlight how local papers are the bastions of local democracy and the people who call those in power to account.

"There are some fine journalists working in newsrooms across the county, but as they all concentrate more and more on their online platforms, circulation figures are bound to decline.

"This is exacerbated by the traditional print readers dying off and younger readers sourcing their news from other platforms.

"However, this is a worrying trend and any business that loses 23 per cent of a section of its client base - and revenue - in one year, would ring alarm bells.

"Let's hope for all our sakes that the power brokers at Reach PLC and Newsquest still value local journalists who campaign on behalf of all of us and don't cut any more meat from the bone."

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