The Redhill-based Sadvertiser has seen its circulation crash by 70,000 copies in four years, to the point where the local paper is on average now selling fewer than 8,000 copies each week.The collapse in sales for the Sadvertiser – or “Outside Croydon” as it is known at Inside Croydon Towers – will undoubtedly prompt questions about the future of the title, which was first published in 1869.
The latest figures were published today by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, and gave the Sadvertiser an average weekly sale of 7,851 in 2015.
That’s down from a circulation of 77,548 as recently as the first-half of 2011. In 2014, they had a circulation of 30,307.
Both of those figures included a large percentage of copies distributed as free copies – in 2014, an average of 8,450 copies were sold each week, as nearly 22,000 were given away.
But last year, the Sadvertiser abandoned its experiment with a part-free, part-paid-for model – which saw residents in the leafy suburbs of the south of Croydon getting the benefit of local papers thrust through their letterbox each week. Not that the Sadvertiser has ever favoured those residents of Coulsdon or Purley. Or their politics. Oh no.
Whether the drastic drop in distribution figures has been reflected in a similar reduction in the rates charged to the paper’s advertisers is not known.
The newspaper has also reduced the number of special editions for different areas it publishes. Sutton, Epsom and Caterham-themed editions have long gone. Last year, the publishers, Local World, dropped the Sutton edition, too.
It is four years now since the Sadvertiser quit Croydon, to find cheaper office options outside the borough, in Redhill, while its sports coverage is now edited from Local World offices in Tunbridge Wells and the newspaper’s pages are subbed at a “hub” in Essex. So the Sadvertiser‘s still a “local paper”, just local to other parts of the south-east.
Last year, the newspaper’s senior reporter retired, and its editor, Glenn Ebrey, also departed the Redhill office. Ebrey had landed the job after his predecessor had managed to splash a News of the Screws-style front page story about a local brothel, while carrying ads for the self-same house of ill-repute in the classified section. Ebrey once scolded this website, boasting, “Last time I checked, our papers were distributed to more than 100,000 people a week.” By the time he left, and despite spending tens of thousands of pounds on the free distribution experiment, the Sadvertiser‘s circulation had reached an all-time low.
It is hard to imagine what further cost-cutting measures the Sadvertiser might be able to deploy to satisfy the business bean-counters before the hardest decision of all becomes inevitable.
- Still Croydon’s only independent news source, and based in the heart of the borough: 1.97 million page views 2013-2015
- Inside Croydon: Named among best regional media campaigns, 2014
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