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June 17 2010


E&P: Media companies in three countries now using controversial Atex system

Editor & Publisher this morning reports that a total of six media organisations, across three countries, have transferred to the controversial Atex content management system in recent weeks.

The CMS is now being used by the Calgary Herald, part of Canwest in Canada; military news source Stars and Stripes in Washington; Erdee Media Groep in The Netherlands; The Sun in Arizona; The Providence in Rhode Island and The Star-Ledger in New Jersey.

Just this week Journalism.co.uk reported that the NUJ had raised strong concerns over Johnston Press’s move to Atex, which it claimed “undermines the editorial independence of editors”.

Full story at this link…

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April 01 2010


Johnston Press: Dismantled paywalls are part of year of ‘discovery’

We’re sure Johnston Press sub-editors on the brink of losing their jobs and staff enjoying an ongoing pay freeze will be glad to know it’s all part of a year of “discovery” for the company.

Yesterday it was reported by HoldtheFrontPage and Press Gazette that local newspaper pay walls, first introduced as part of a three month trial at the end of last year, were coming down.

The Southern Reporter, Northumberland Gazette and Whitby Gazette are no longer offering paid subscriptions and have opened up their content in full. It is not clear if the other titles in the trial will continue to restrict their content online (Carrick Gazette, Worksop Guardian and Ripley and Heanor News were experimenting with directing readers back to the newspaper after a summary of each story).

There are reports of very low subscription rates indeed. HTFP reports:

[A] a source at one of the titles involved in the trial said it had been a “disaster” and that the number of people subscribing had been in single figures.

But Johnston Press refused to reveal any more details: of subscription rates or its future plans. A spokesperson said:

We are not commenting on the test results. We see this year as one of discovery as we test various ideas and learn from the experience of others.

Last week we noted on this blog that despite the redundancies and pay freeze Johnston Press’ top bosses were taking home rather juicy pay packages for 2009 – significantly bigger than those in 2008.

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February 25 2010


Regional online traffic compared; Johnston Press comes out top

I’ve had a little play with today’s Audit Bureau of Circulations Electronic’s (ABCe) six-monthly multi-platform report for June – December 2009 and produced a few graphs.

Johnston Press was top of the traffic charts with 384,016 daily unique browsers – partly thanks to the Scotsman which attracted 86,694 daily browsers on average over the past six months. In second place for daily unique browsers (which ABCe now prioritises over monthly statistics as a better measure of site popularity) came Newsquest with 320,975 browsers. Closely behind, Trinity Mirror, which recorded 287,130. Of the bigger groups, it was Northcliffe in fourth position with 256,123. GMG saw the biggest drop-off overall when period-on-period monthly unique browser figures were compared: -17.8 per cent.

For the next multiplatform report, it could be all change: GMG regional titles will be part of Trinity Mirror, following the sale agreement earlier this month; and the effect of Johnston Press’ pay walls, launched in November may well have kicked in. They seem to have had a limited effect on this period’s statistics, but it’s worth noting that traffic had fallen for the Johnston Press network from 6,985,175 uniques in October to 6,161,875 in December 2009: down by over ten per cent in two months. Traffic had been dropping off since July, however, well before the pay walls were introduced and of course, the group has only rolled out the scheme over a few of its smaller sites so far.  Unfortunately, the trialled sites don’t feature in the individual site break-down.

This chart shows the period-on-period change for each newspaper group, June to end of December 2009. (ie. compared with the previous six months)

Unique daily browsers, by regional newspaper group:

GMG Regional Network

Trinity Mirror

Iliffe News & Media Ltd (note that the largest column is its entire network overall, which includes other sites as well)

Johnston Press


Midlands News

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