The Croydon Sadvertiser really is an apology of a newspaper.
A couple of weeks ago, the paper’s relatively new editor got the right ‘ump with this website for having the temerity to criticise its coverage and question its dwindling circulation.
Glenn Ebrey (for it is he) said at the time: “Last time I checked, our papers were distributed to more than 100,000 people a week.”
We’ve just seen the latest, independently audited figures for the last six months of 2010.
Glenn, old mate: Go back and check again.
The previous independent audit of the Croydon Sadvertiser‘s sales figures for Jan-Jun 2010 had your weekly circulation down at less than 16,000 for the first time in the paper’s 140-year history.
Today, the latest Audit Bureau of Circulation figures have been published, for July to December 2010. This is a period which includes the time since Ebrey has been in charge, and covers the paper’s shift to the bizarre part paid-for, part freebie model.
And they reveal that the Sadvertiser‘s paid-for circulation has plummeted even further, to an average of just 13,379. Click here to see your ABC certificate, Glenn.
Even as they try to give the paper away by stuffing it, unrequested, through thousands of people’s letter boxes, the Sadvertiser is, according to the ABC, delivering just a further 43,185.
That all adds up to a load less than the 100,000 that Ebrey claimed on his blog.
We wonder what the Sadvertiser‘s ad department is telling local businesses their circulation figures might be?
If they are claiming Ebrey’s inflated 100,000 figure, but are actually printing and distributing only two-thirds as many, might local businesses who advertise with them expect a significant rebate on their charges?
It is possible that the Sadvertiser‘s management may claim that 40,000 households that take delivery equates to two or three people at each address having the paper “distributed” to them.
This is desperate accounting: they really have very little idea whether their newspaper – and the advertising it carries – is read by any of the people in those homes. For all they know, it is most usually instantly “recycled” at the bottom of the pet cat’s litter tray.
And just in case you were wondering, here’s some of the news and analysis that have appeared on Inside Croydon before being reported by the Sadvertiser, just in the past week or so…
Oval Primary head replaced as council brings in “federation”
Oval Primary parents claim to “oust” new headteacher
MP Gavin Barwell intervenes over Oval Primary School
Rouse in recruitment drive for another £110,000 executive
Former Tory MP Andrew Pelling defects to Labour
Croydon signs deal with four other boroughs to merge services
Council tenants face 6.1% rent hike
Council’s services merger plan outrages opposition
MP Barwell says council should apologise over parking plans
We could go on. But you get the drift.
The distribution model is indeed bizarre, even more so if they are unable to operate it competently. I canceled my order at the newsagent after getting two copies every week for a while, thus depriving both newsagent and the paper of much needed revenue, though lightening the paper boy’s load I suppose. Naturally the free delivery degenerated in typical freesheet style from weekly to sporadic and I’m not going to make an effort to go and buy the bloody thing if it doesn’t turn up sometime over the weekend. So there we are, a regular paying reader for donkeys years lost to ineptitude. Is this what they really wanted?