Free As Standard
Hopefully all those of you with no direct interest in the London market will forgive me for kicking off with one of the most significant media stories of recent months: on the 12th of October the Evening Standard went from paid to free distribution, increasing its print run by more than double, to 600,000 copies. Distribution is still handled by the existing staff of sales people as well as through pick up bins at train and tube stations, in WHSmiths and supermarkets across London. In terms of setting a precedent this piece of news has implications for all of us: as they’ve been so keen to point out, the Standard is “the first quality paper in the world to go free”, and publishers everywhere will no doubt be following events in the capital closely.
Captain Clickback says: “Given that the Standard has sacrificed its paper sales revenue and incurred extra print and distribution charges in order to increase its sales revenue, it’s reasonable to assume that rate increases are in the offing but, as you’d expect, the team at Space and Time Towers will be working to ensure that the paper remains an affordable option.”
Morning Time in North West
The Evening Leader group, covering Wrexham, Chester and Flintshire, has announced plans to rename itself The Leader and move to morning distribution. Following a period of circulation decline the shift in publication time will accompany a general revamp of the group’s titles. This change represents the latest in a string of regional papers shifting from evening to morning publication, including the Brighton Argus, Lancs Telegraph, Southend Echo, Derby Telegraph, Plymouth Herald and Portsmouth News.
Change Afoot in Birmingham
A raft of changes to Trinity Mirror’s presence in the west midlands has been unveiled, including a move from paid daily to paid weekly distribution for the Birmingham Post, and the Birmingham Evening Mail dropping the “Evening” from its title as it switches to morning distribution.
In a move that threatens to limit the local relevance of various editions of Metro around the country, the commuter freesheet has closed five of its regional editorial offices, namely Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle, Birmingham and Bristol. The centralisation of the editorial process will primarily have an impact on the local arts, entertainment and food sections of the paper.
Captain Clickback says: “This is one of the unfortunate effects of the recession- where publishers are being forced to cut costs and consolidate roles, it is inevitable that content will be rolled out from a central source and that the local media consumer will miss out. We can see the same thing happening with the rise in syndicated content across the new Heart radio network as well as in Manchester where the likes of the Rochdale Observer, Salford Advertiser and the Macclesfield Express are now all written from the centre of Manchester following the closure of the firm’s satellite offices.”
How do Online and Offline Media Work Together?
Some research undertaken at Space and Time demonstrates rather aptly how advertising in the local press drives increases in web traffic and changes the nature of the terms searched for on Google. By overlaying press schedules with Google Adwords reports, it’s possible to see how site-specific press ads increase the number of searches carried out for that site’s marketing name (“The Towers Reigate” for example), while during periods with no other advertising activity the site-specific searches decline and the most common relevant search terms refer instead to the development’s location (such as “New Homes in Reigate”).
Captain Clickback says: “At a time when Online ad spend has overtaken TV’s advertising revenue, it’s important to remember that for all its strength, online media is only a part of the ideal media mix and doesn’t necessarily represent a campaign in its entirety. Although online is an extremely hardworking medium and PPC is ultimately accountable, this shows how there’s still a space for press advertising on the average schedule. It also provides a useful lesson that your last point of contact with a new lead before they visit the showroom wasn’t necessarily the same medium through which they first heard about your site.”
1 in 97 – proportion of UK homes valued at more than £1m at the height of the housing boom in 2007 according to website Zoopla
1 in 150 – proportion of UK homes valued at over £1m today
The ridiculously long-memoried among you will remember a story from August 07 (yes, that’s issue 34 for all you Clickback aficionados, a rather lovely epistle you’ll remember, with a delicate turn of phrase, black body text and a striking blue title font) about “reverse published” titles in the North East composed entirely from editorial already published on hyper local websites. Now a similar idea has reached London, with the launch of The Blogpaper (no, I said “BLOGpaper”, “BLOG”, oh nevermind), which is, as you may have guessed, a print version of the best the blogosphere has to offer. The composition of the paper is dictated by the result of online votes at theblogpaper.co.uk. The bloggers work for free, but the publication will carry paid-for advertising, so someone’s doing well somewhere.
Local Papers Save the Day
How do you stay in touch with local community news when there’s no power, your router’s soggy and the broadband exchange is 3 feet under the swollen eddies of the river Cocker? Local Press of course! The awful events seen in Cumbria over recent days have demonstrated that there’s life in the old dog yet, as the Times and Star, the weekly title covering Workington and Cockermouth, overcame supply, power and transport difficulties to publish three issues in one week, keeping the local people up to date with vital information about their community.
That’s your lot for another issue. If you’d like any more information on any of these stories, you can either reply to this email or contact your Space and Time team.
See you next time!!