Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Manchester Evening News-How long is it sustainable

Not the first time that the Manchester Evening news and its free city centre give away has been mentioned on this blog.

But a good perspective on it from Follow the media this morning

Manchester can lay claim to increasing total circulation by some 34% reaching its initial goal of a total 180,000 circulation, but to do it the paper is giving away more copies than it is selling. It thought it would sell about two-thirds of the total and give away the remaining third

All regional papers took a battering in the latest Abc's published last week,the MEM not different in recording a fall of 13.5% year on year in the turmoil that is hitting the regional press.

Things have not quite gone to plan though as the article continues

The original idea put into effect in May, 2006, was to give away 50,000 copies downtown where the newspaper only had around 7,000 daily sales anyway and continue selling in the suburbs where it had around 127,000 sales. The idea was to keep those suburban sales intact and circulation would jump to around 180,000 copies.
and as in often the case

Mr. and Mrs. Manchester Public saw it differently. Why pay for something that one can get for free? Gradually the newspaper had to start giving away more copies – it went to 60,000, and it didn’t take too long before that number reached 92,000 and now it just shy of 100,000.

So where does this leave the paper?At the end of the day it is still reaching a large target audience whether they are paying for the paper or not and advertisers must still be impressed by the potential reach even if it will always be dificuklt to quantify how many people are actulayy reading it.

Take a walk thru Manchester and it is pretty near impossible to avoid picking up a paper.In fact carrying on under your arm is a good defensive mechanism to stop being harassed by other distributors.As a journalism student I will read the paper,but how many actually do?

It is an interesting business model and will no doubt be watched with much interest.

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