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Enders: We got it wrong on regional press closures

By Dominic Ponsford

Douglas McCabe of Enders Analysis has admitted that his company’s previous predictions about the death of newspapers were wide of the mark.

Claire Enders told the House of Commons in 2009 that up to half of the UK’s 1,300 local newspaper titles would close over the following five years.

But speaking at the Society of Editors Conference in Glasgow this morning McCabe admitted that her prediction was ‘unduly pessimistic”. He said: ‘We haven’t seen closures on that scale, there were quite a few weeklies that closed last year, but we haven’t seen dailies closing at all – there’s been one national press launch and some regional weeklies as well.”

He added: ‘It’s always a massive risk when you talk about the number of closures. I think what we’ve always said is that the scale of structural change for newspapers was underestimated…

‘People couldn’t see that a lot of this stuff [advertising] wasn’t coming back and therefore businesses had to restructure to reflect that change. Businesses will do everything they can to not close down businesses.”

Speaking at the same session Independent on Sunday editor John Mullin revealed that his title is currently in profit. The Independent titles have been loss-making for a number of years, but Mullin said: “The Independent on Sunday makes money as it stands right now. We are very tightly resourced, but there are a lot of things you can do with tight resources.”

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