Local World is one of the largest regional media networks in the UK. They serve local communities creating first class content through a portfolio of around 100 long-standing print titles and more than 70 websites.
Following our successful work with the Plymouth Herald we were approached to discuss a research project to support the relaunch and possible extension of the publication days of the Express and Echo newspaper in Exeter.
The progressive senior management team at the Express and Echo wanted to look at the sales potential for extending the publication to two days a week. It was critical that the quantitative survey sample was representative of the population of Exeter and was large enough to be statistically reliable to give the team full confidence in the commercial decisions which would be made on the basis of the survey results, analysis and reporting.
They also wanted to qualitatively test a number of possible new designs which would deliver a new look and feel for the paper as well as reviewing its editorial content.
The research proposed was completed in two phases. The first phase was quantitative, involving conducting 1,100 on-street face to face surveys – providing a statistically robust sample to allow sub analysis of the data at the reporting stage.
The second phase was qualitative, using a series of focus groups to test the new design concept for the paper (A modern design – linked more closely to the on-line style). The hypothesis that the paper could also have a stronger business focus in the new edition was also tested.
The target audiences for both phases were segmented into current, lapsed and prospective readers. The planned development of the business editorial was also tested with a specific sample of business readers during both the qualitative and quantitative stages of the research.
After considering the survey results and considering the business case for extending the publication of the paper Local World successfully relaunched the Express and Echo and extended publishing to two days a week. The new look paper with improved editorial coverage and expanded sections prompted and supported by the survey results continues to grow in circulation both off and on-line.