Feb ABCs: Qualities plunge but Star and Sun are up
12 March 2010
By Dominic Ponsford
National newspaper print circulations continued to take a battering in February as readers faced with thinner newspapers which are more expensive than ever voted with their pockets.
All the UK quality nationals now cost £1, but the continued economic slump means that advertising remains scarce and paginations are low by the standards of recent years.
The Daily Telegraph dropped 9.8 per cent year on year, The Guardian was down 16 per cent, The Independent down 11 per cent and The Times dropped 16.9 per cent.
Looking at UK paid-for sales only, the Financial Times dropped 8.8 per cent to an average of 79,864 sales per day. It is now selling for £2 a copy on weekdays versus £1.80 a year ago.
The red-top and mid-market titles fared much better with the cut-price (20p) Daily Star and Sun managing year-on-year rises of three per cent and 0.6 per cent respectively.
The Sun had special cause for celebration managing its first year-on-year increase since July 2008.
No UK-wide national Sunday newspaper managed to increase sales year on year in February and the two slimmest quality Sundays, The Observer and the Independent on Sunday, were the biggest fallers down 20.4 per cent and 12.3 per cent respectively.
The year on year drops for the quality titles partly reflect a decision across titles to reduce bulk give-aways. The Guardian and Observer drops also reflect a reduction in foreign distribution.
The relaunch of The Observer happened mid-way through the audit period so we will find out next month what effect that has had on sales.
National newspaper circulaton figures for February 2010 (source ABC)
Figures given are per issue sale for the month and percentage change year on year
National Morning Popular
Daily Mirror 1,234,967 -6.91
Daily Record 328,183 -6.00
Daily Star 803,859 2.96
The Sun 2,972,763 0.63
National Morning Mid Market
Daily Express 672,951 -5.92
Daily Mail 2,111,204 -3.09
National Morning Quality
The Daily Telegraph 685,177 -9.82
Financial Times 390,203 -7.32
The Herald 55,710 -7.38
The Guardian 284,514 -16.38
The Independent 183,547 -10.88
The Scotsman 45,695 -7.04
The Times 505,062 -16.90
National Morning Sporting
Racing Post 52,982 -4.64
National Sunday Popular
Daily Star Sunday 347,374 -3.55
News of the World 2,993,709 -0.87
Sunday Mail 397,458 -9.39
Sunday Mirror 1,155,975 -5.72
The People 541,470 -7.52
National Sunday Mid Market
Sunday Express 575,314 -9.52
Sunday Post 337,699 -7.67
The Mail on Sunday 1,978,316 -6.89
National Sunday Quality
Independent on Sunday 155,661 -13.27
The Observer 342,467 -20.42
Scotland on Sunday 58,278 -6.70
Sunday Herald 41,955 1.29
The Sunday Telegraph 516,238 -10.47
The Sunday Times 1,122,165 -7.58
Of course, you have to bear in mind that the population of Great Britain (not including Northern Ireland) is roughly 60 million, so there are an awful lot of people who don't get any newspapers at all. The number of daily Guardian readers could fit comfortably into six St James' Parks (capacity: 52,2387).