Posted: Sat 16th Mar 2024

Wrexham edition of Leader newspaper drops below 2,000 circulation

Wrexham.com for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Mar 16th, 2024

The Wrexham edition of the Leader newspaper now has an average circulation of 1,977 copies according to latest figures released.

Trade publication HoldTheFrontpage has published their usual rundown of circulation figures as the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) have updated their circulation certificates for a range of publications.

The Daily Post data that covers last year shows an average circulation on 8,350.

The split given is:

  • East 24% or 2004 copies (which is the traditional edition sold in Wrexham)
  • West 64% or 5344 copies
  • Final 12% or 1002 copies

The ABC certificate notes both the ‘east’ and ‘final’ editions ceased at the start of December, likely meaning there is now a single edition produced.

The Daily Post is owned and operated by Reach PLC, they say they are “UK’s and Ireland’s largest commercial news publisher” with titles such as The Mirror, Daily Star and the Express.

The ABC refresh data also covers the Leader, which has two editions stated, Wrexham and Flintshire.

The average total circulation is 3,041 copies. 2002 are paid copies and 1039 copies are via paid subscriptions.

The split of the 3,041 copies is given as:

  • Flintshire 35%, or 1065 copies
  • Wrexham 65%, or 1977 copies.

This is the first time the Wrexham edition of the Leader has fallen below 2000 copies. It is also a drop of -48% for the Wrexham edition since March 2019 when we reported on former owners NWN Media dissolving.

The Leader is owned and operated by Newsquest Media Group Limited, which is a subsidiary of Gannett Co. Inc who describe themselves as publishing “…USA TODAY along with hundreds of local media outlets across the United States, and over 150 news brands in the United Kingdom”.

The drops in newspaper circulation in North Wales is not a local or regional specific issue, with HoldTheFrontpage this week publishing another grim looking table of circulation drops between -7% for the Irish News through to a -38% circulation drop for the Manchester Evening News (7,315 circulation)- a former behemoth of news.

Gwent

As readers will be aware Wrexham.com is conducting a FOI exercise to the cost of the 20MPH roll out around the cost of the Traffic Orders that have been placed in newspapers across Wales – also known as ‘statutory notices’, as law requires the advert in newspapers circulation in an area. While conducting that exercise we discovered Reach PLC’s Gwent Gazette had a circulation of a 347.

The ABC data refresh says the Gwent Gazette has also seen a drop in circulation, and it is now down to just 279 ( two hundred and seventy nine copies).

We FOI’ed Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council asking how much they had spent over the last few years on advertising, promotion and statutory notices in the widely read title. They replied:

2021-2022 – £13,821.24
2022-2023 – £15,642.34
2023-2024 – £23,272.44

We have asked the same question to Welsh Government, with no response as of yet.

In Wrexham the issue of statutory notices has been raised in a Standards Committee, with the council’s legal officer skeptical over the reach of such ad placements.

Previously Wrexham Council Chief Executive Ian Bancroft has said there would be a ‘tipping point’ on declining circulations and the use of local papers would be ‘kept under review’. We asked Wrexham Council how the review was progressing and for an update, noting when we first asked the prospective tipping point was could be between 0-7500 and now is 0-1977.

The council said, “We continue to comply with statutory requirements and in the current financial climate ensure we are being prudent”.

The Senedd is currently considering if a law change should be enacted that would make the legal requirement for statutory notices to appear in the back of ‘local’ newspapers a thing of the past – more as reported here: Six out of ten Newsquest newspapers in Wales would have been loss making last year without public notice revenue



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