The latest regional newspaper circulation figures have just been published. There's a full list at Hold the Front Page, but these are the figures for the Welsh newspapers:
The Leader, Wrexham ... 14,322 ... 100% paid for... down 6.5%
The Western Mail ... 23,723 ... 94.6% paid for ... down 6.7%
North Wales Daily Post ... 28,331 ... 100% paid for ... down 7.4%
South Wales Argus ... 19,748 ... 100% paid for ... down 7.9%
South Wales Echo ... 27,700 ... 100% paid for ... down 8.2%
South Wales Evening Post ... 33,479 ... 98.2% paid for ... down 8.6%
Wales on Sunday ... 23,416 ... 100% paid for ... down 12.4%
The figures are for the first half of 2013, compared with the same period last year. More detail is available from ABC by entering the name of the paper in the Certificate Finder search box.
There's nothing particularly remarkable about any of these figures. They simply show a continuation of the same general decline in printed newspaper circulation that has been apparent for some years. Only one newspaper in the whole of the UK has managed to buck the trend.
But it isn't all doom and gloom. The real question is whether people are getting the same news from the web editions of these newspapers instead and, thankfully, that information is also available. These are the Welsh figures:
Daily Unique Browsers
www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk ... 24,362 ... up 46.0%
www.walesonline.co.uk ... 63,972 ... up 16.7%
www.dailypost.co.uk ... 17,973 ... up 14.6%
Again, the figures are for the first half of 2013, compared with the same period last year. Across the UK, all but four of the newspaper websites showed an increase.
These figures aren't directly comparable with the print figures – for example the WalesOnline figure will include content from the Western Mail, the South Wales Echo and Wales on Sunday – but, all in all, the increase in online readership more than compensates for the loss of print readership, which is encouraging and healthy from the point of view of informing the public about news and current affairs.
South Wales Evening Post
Print loss ... 2,835
Online gain ... 7,676
Difference ... 4,841
Western Mail / South Wales Echo / Wales on Sunday
Print loss ... 1,704 + 2,474 + 3,315 = 7,493
Online gain ... 9,155
Difference ... 1,662
North Wales Daily Post
Print loss ... 2,264
Online gain ... 2,289
Difference ... 25
But there are still questions to be asked. For example I think that people who buy a printed paper are likely to read all or most of its content, but that online readership will tend to be more focused on fewer pages. And of course there is also the question of how to make money from online editions ... especially when people (like me) block the advertisements.