150-year-old national newspaper grows audience with new digital offering

The Universe, a national news and lifestyle tabloid established for 150 years, is growing a new digital audience with the launch of an online version designed and built by Leeds-based agency, Creative Marketing Services.

With a loyal readership amongst Britain’s Catholics, the print edition of The Universe is a weekly paid-subscription title covering news alongside features on special interests and hobbies, with religious content provided by a free insert in the form of the Catholic Times. The Universe Media Group commissioned Creative Marketing Services to create and manage a website which mirrors the print issue and incorporates ecommerce to deliver an additional revenue stream alongside the publication’s expanding list of advertisers.

Andrew Batty, managing director at Creative Marketing Services, said:
“At a time when many print titles are losing circulation, the publications that have evolved with the most success in the digital age have developed an online offering that complements and works in tandem with their print offering, in terms of content, engagement and cross-promotion, finding an audience that likes to consume its media via more than one channel. That’s what we sought to achieve with The Universe online, and the early signs are very encouraging.

“There has been a flow of new print subscribers while long-standing print subscribers have also been signing up for a digital subscription as well as using the online shop. Within a few months, the online readership has doubled to over twenty thousand unique visitors. The print edition is maintaining a steady weekly circulation. At a time when people are buying newspapers less due to Covid concerns, The Universe offers an attractive proposition to advertisers trying to reach new audiences. It’s a mainstream title with a readership which is predominantly over 40 and has a strong interest in the publication’s lifestyle content – including shopping, cars, fashion, travel and gardening – so the circulation offers high-income consumers within a clear demographic.”

Clive Leach, chairman of the Universe Media Group. Said:

“The success of the online edition is an amazing achievement. The reach is growing month-on-month. We’re delighted with the site and the growth that Creative Marketing Services are delivering. Advertisers can now reach a new market at a very low cost per thousand with press ads, digital ads, inserts or advertorials.”