THE Herald & Times Group said today its combined newspaper sales and digital subscriptions have risen by a fifth over the past year.
The announcement came as it appointed Gordon Stevenson to head up its digital offering.
Total print sales and online subscriptions rose 20 per cent to more than 91,000 in the first half of 2015 from 76,000 in the same period a year earlier, implying success of its paid-for and digital content strategy.
The Herald & Times Group publishes The Herald, Sunday Herald, Evening Times and The National plus heraldscotland.com, eveningtimes.co.uk and thenational.scot websites.
According to internal figures, The Herald and Sunday Herald’s combined 7-day paid for readership has grown 2.1 per cent from 42,657, to 43,533 in the 12 months to June 2015, while digital subscribers to Heraldscotland.com have increased by 3,190 to just over 14,000.
Sales have been further helped by The National print and digital subscriptions which have grown to circa 16,922 since its launch in November 2014.
Gordon Stevenson, formerly of Media Scotland where he worked for 21 years, has been appointed as head of Digital to spearhead the group’s online audience growth and engagement.
Further signifying its focus on developing its digital offering, the company is currently advertising for a head of Social Media, and an appointment will be announced in due course.
The Herald & Times Group managing director, Tim Blott, said: “We are pleased to note that, despite general industry trends, our paying readership is growing at a substantial pace. This reflects the quality and scope of our journalism, as well as the uniqueness and integrity of our content.
“We are also glad to welcome Gordon on board as we invest in new expertise to help sustain and adapt the business to changes in the industry.”
Gordon Stevenson said: “I am excited to be joining such a dynamic and growing media group, and look forward to contributing to a significant expansion in online audience and revenue.”
Tom Thomson, managing editor of the Herald & Times Group, said: “It is gratifying to see a rise in our paying readership and the vote of confidence from our readers which this indicates.
“We are pleased at Gordon’s choice to join us as we inject new expertise and ambition into our digital content creation and advertising offerings with the first of two new key appointments.”
The Herald & Times Group has achieved steady increases in readership and paid subscriptions over the past year, in line with its multi-platform and paid-for content strategy.
In February 2015, ABC figures confirmed the Sunday Herald as the only paper in Scotland to increase readership of its print format in the six months to June 2014.
In June 2014 the Group announced a year-on-year increase of 2.4 per cent in paid-for readership in the preceding year with online paid subscriptions also surpassing the 10,000 mark for the first time.
Audited ABC figures released later in August 2014 revealed a total audience increase of 39 per cent during the period January to June 2014.
The Herald & Times Group is part of Newsquest Media Group which recently purchased Romanes Media Group for an undisclosed sum in a strategic move to expand its presence in the UK.
Romanes has a portfolio of newspaper titles and websites in Scotland, Berkshire and Northern Ireland including Dunfermline Press, Greenock Telegraph and East Lothian Courier.
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