Much as it pains me to admit it, the circulations of newspapers with property supplements are not good - in fact, they are in what may be terminal decline.
This does not mean newspaper exposure has become unimportant (ask an estate agent whose property has featured in a national’s pages - the leads produced are usually impressive).
But it does mean that increasing emphasis is now being given to those same newspapers’ online activities, ranging from full-blown articles appearing on websites to Twitter teasers of the kind promoted by The Times and the Daily Telegraph.
Below are figures, rarely publicised, which show the state of decline of newspaper circulation. There is no publicly-available research on the readership of specific property pages, but one can safely assume they have the same broad trend.
Average Monday-Saturday circulation 558,513
Change on last year: down 10.1 per cent.
Average Mon-Sat circulation 1,952,524
Change on last year: down 4.28 per cent.
The Daily Telegraph
Average Mon-Sat circulation: 576,378
Change on last year: down 7.99 per cent.
Average Mon-Sat circulation: 319,381
Change on last year: down 16.32 per cent.
Average Mon-Sat circulation: 394,102
Change on last year: down 11.66 per cent.
The Sunday Telegraph
Average Sunday circulation: 451,731
Change on last year: down 6.27 per cent.
The Sunday Times
Average Sunday circulation: 928,260
Change on last year: 10.03 per cent.
(Source: ABC - all base figures for March 2012).
(Excluded: Independent, property section part-duplicated from London Evening Standard).
These figures paint only part of the picture. There is also hugely-growing online readership - think how the Telegraph and FT have stunning and freely-available property features online, while The Times’ and Sunday Times’ offerings are behind a paywall.
The rest of the picture is made up of that hard-to-measure element called ‘influence’, judged anecdotally by the size of the supplements - the more the supplements influence readers, the more advertising they get, so the more pages they have.
So for example, advertising volumes in the FT House & Home, Daily Telegraph’s Saturday Property and Times’ Bricks and Mortar property supplements are running particularly well and as a result the sections are typically quite meaty at this time of year. The FT and Telegraph property sections in particular are increasingly favoured by advertisers because of their effectiveness.
But there is only one conclusion to be drawn from the broad ‘Change on last year’ figures above, and it’s a simple one.
The future of property editorial and advertising is online. It’s just a matter of when, not if.
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