APN has announced it is to sell its South Island titles and Wellington community papers.
Among them is the Oamaru Mail where I started my journalism career.
. . . In a memo to staff, APN describes the decision to quit the twice-weekly giveaway Christchurch paper, The Star, the Oamaru Mail and a clutch of other small, community titles in the South Island and Wellington as a “strategic decision to consolidate its publishing business in the North Island.”
The Star, published Wednesdays and Fridays, has an audited circulation of 71,644, while the Oamaru Mail is one of the country’s smallest, with a circulation of just 2,883. . .
The Mail was an evening paper when I worked for it, 30 years ago, and circulation was dropping then.
Competition from TV and more recently the internet and give away papers has further eroded its circulation.
A decision to make it a morning paper put it head to head with the Otago Daily Times which has fewer of the local and parish pump stories the Mail covers but a lot more other news and features.
There’s no mention of a price in the media release but APN will be dreaming if they’re asking for much.
Who would want to buy it?
There might be an entrepreneur out there looking for a challenge, and this would be a big one.
The Mail still provides a service for locals but a paper with low and declining circulation won’t be an attractive business proposition.