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By Graham Norwood

Editor, EAT and LAT

Graham Awards


Newspapers are in freefall - what does it mean for agents?

It’s been an interesting week of contrasts when it comes to online replacing ‘the old school’.

Data from that clever consultancy The Advisory suggests online estate agents have very recently taken only a four per cent share of the sales market - far less than a few months ago, and much less than many of the industry expected.

By contrast, data from the world of print journalism shows an acceleration in the trend of recent years - in other words, print newspapers are fast going out of fashion, thanks to digital alternatives.


It’s not an academic contrast: estate agents and other property professionals advertise in print newspapers at national and especially local level, and the effectiveness of alterna-tive forms of advertising - on websites, through social media and other digital forums - is still difficult to measure.

The data I use below comes from the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) which is owned by the media industry but is independently operated and verifies media firms’ performance.

So here we go with the latest (November 2018) figures compared to a year earlier:

Metro (free): circulation of 1,451,399 (down 1% over a year);

The Sun: 1,403,779 (down 6%);

Daily Mail: 1,222,611 (down 12%);

The Sun on Sunday: 1,187,848 (down 7%);

The Mail on Sunday: 1,028,736 (down 13%);

London Evening Standard (free): 856,439 (down 5%);

The Sunday Times: 727,079 (down 3%);

Daily Mirror: 519,224 (down 12%);

Sunday Mirror: 434,436 (down 14%);

The Times: 415,577 (down 6%);

The Daily Telegraph: 359,110 (down 22%);

Daily Star: 340,816 (down 15%);

Daily Express: 322,798 (down 12%);

The Sunday Telegraph: 283,751 (down 17%);

Sunday Express: 280,404 (down 11%);

i newspaper: 238,771 (down 8%);

Daily Star on Sunday: 205,702 (down 14%);

Financial Times: 177,196 (down 5%);

Sunday People: 168,690 (down 15%);

The Observer: 165,868 (down 6%);

The Guardian: 136,834 (down 7%);

City AM (free): 86,023 (down 5%).

You get the picture - when even the freebies like the Evening Standard drop circulation by five per cent in a year, and some of the paid-for newspapers’ fall 20% or more, there is no going back. 

As a journalist I’m not particularly saddened by this: to be honest, I’d suggest more people are consuming news these days than at any time in my life, thanks to a vast multiplicity of outlets online and on TV and radio.

But it’s a complicated picture online. Some newspaper websites are seeing declines in readership as people instead go to new sources of news, not connected with old-school newspapers or long-established brands such as The Times or the Daily Mail. 

The situation at local level is even more dramatic for local newspaper circulations in print and online, as agents who advertise in their regional or city newspapers will know full well.

Draw your own conclusions about what this all means for advertising properties - but, in-directly, it probably suggests that portals are stronger now than they have ever been in terms of being the starting point for buyers’ and renters’ property searches.

And again it begs the question: is it worth agents advertising at local level?

Happy New Year!

*Editor of Estate Agent Today and Letting Agent Today, Graham can be found tweeting all things property @PropertyJourn

  • Chris Arnold

    There's a counter-argument. Which medium do consumers trust the most when reading content and viewing advertising? Newspapers win hands-down over online. Because? Because there is editorial control. The fake news generally appears first,mostly online.

  • Tony Sinclair

    Yes indeed, and the source of so-called 'Fake News' is put online by the MS Media in the first place. Go Figure. Methinks you need to dig a little deeper Chris. You will be surprised what you find when you go down the Rabbit Hole.

    The bigger picture is not about people dumping print for digital per se because the aforementioned publications are not performing well on their digital platforms either.

    It's about dumping the Mainstream Media in general for 'Alternative Media' which knows how to report truths instead of spin, lies, and propaganda.

    So your counter-argument does not hold water. Otherwise, if the public trusted printed more as you suggest, why would they all be hemorrhaging readers?

    I rest my case!


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