New ABCs: The Evening Times is the fastest-growing regional news site in the UK

etToday the latest ABC circulation update for newspapers was released, covering both print and digital. While the print figures are broadly in line with the industry average – and long-term gentle decline – the stand-out story is digital performance.

As I’ve blogged about before, I took over technical and subscription responsibility for the Herald & Times digital news operations in January 2013. Over the past 14 months we’ve made a number of changes, both to the technical infrastructure and to the design and marketing of our sites.

The results in the first half of the year were very positive. From January to July 2013 we took from mid-table performance to being the fastest growing regional news site in the UK.

In the second half of the year we turned our attention to the Evening Times site and to our paywall technology. The results, out today, show that this effort was well placed – for the second half of 2013, the Evening Times is the fastest-growing regional news site in the UK with an increase of 74.6% in daily unique browsers, stealing Herald Scotland’s crown. Fortunately, Herald Scotland continued to grow very well too, maintaining its earlier growth trajectory with another 66% year-on-year growth in monthly unique browsers.

Perhaps more interesting than the audience figures is the contribution that online has made to the overall business. As our MD, Tim Blott, said in an interview on BBC Reporting Scotland, digital revenue now accounts for 40% of the profit of the Herald & Times Group. Considering the comparatively tiny size of the digital teams, that’s a pretty staggering result.