APN cuts borderline titles after years of circulation decline

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Continuing circulation downturn and competition from neighbouring publishers and online has just made things worse for APN’s paid-sale papers in the competitive Tweed and Coffs Coast areas.

The publisher has announced that weekday editions of its 123-year-old ‘Tweed Daily News’ and four paid editions of its ‘Coffs Coast Advocate’ will fold in the second week of next month.

Each confronts territorial competition from strong rivals – News Limited’s ‘Gold Coast Bulletin’ in the growing Tweed region immediately to the north of the Queensland/NSW border, and Fairfax Media to the south in Coffs Harbour. Coffs is the southernmost office in APN’s Australian regional network.

Both papers are printed at a plant in Ballina, NSW.

APN Australian Regional Media chief executive Warren Bright says the Tweed business had been struggling to achieve profitability for some years: “Sales of the ‘Daily News’ have been in decline for some time and there seems little prospect of improvement,” he says.

Figures show it has lost almost half its circulation in ten years.

The company says the ‘Daily News’ will survive only as a paid Saturday edition – with a reduced cover price – and two free editions, the ‘Gold Coast Mail’ and ‘Robina Mail’ will cease publication at the end of the year. The free weekly ‘Tweed Border Mail’ continues publication.

On the Coffs coast, the ‘Advocate’ – already unusual in that it had a mix of paid and free editions – will be cut back to two free editions.

Bright says APN is looking for 35 redundancies from editorial and non-editorial staff and will redeploy five others. “I am determined that we will be innovative and flexible as a company and not be caught standing as the world passes us by,” he said in a message to staff.

APN made a loss of $98 million in the six months to June 30, compared to a $40 million profit in the same period last year.

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