National Newspaper Circulation Figures Decline

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The Audit Bureau of Circulation, known commonly as ABC, could also be an acronym for the question ‘Are Broadsheets Ceasing’, judging by their latest report on circulation figures from August 2013.

Looking at the daily and free titles, only the i has shown an overall growth in circulation from the same period last year. It has had the third largest percentage of decline from the previous months circulation figure, behind only its mother title the Independent and also the Financial Times.

July 2013 reported there was a spike in the month on month circulation figures for nearly all the daily titles, which is thought to be due to the hype surrounding the birth of the royal baby. Therefore it does not come as a surprise that the latest figures show a month on month decline for most titles, however the continuing year on year decline is something that would be more of a concern for the future of print. The tables below, taken from the August 2013 ABC circulation report, shows the difference in average circulation for both month on month and year on year figures.

National Newspaper ABC Figures – August 2013
Daily Titles Aug-12 Jul-13 Aug-13 YoY Actual Change YoY % Change PoP Actual Change PoP % Change
Quality
Daily Telegraph 584,089 558,817 557,536 -26,553 -4.5 -1,281 -0.2
Financial Times 280,124 244,768 236,281 -43,843 -15.7 -8,487 -3.5
Guardian 204,271 191,182 189,646 -14,625 -7.2 -1,536 -0.8
i 281,530 305,129 295,179 13,649 4.8 -9,950 -3.3
Independent 81,804 72,271 68,696 -13,108 -16 -3,575 -4.9
Scotsman 36,344 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Times 407,720 400,245 391,643 -16,077 -3.9 -8,602 -2.1
Daily Express 550,502 533,039 530,631 -19,871 -3.6 -2,408 -0.5
Daily Mail 1,914,126 1,781,968 1,802,083 -112,043 -5.9 -20,115 1.1
Daily Mirror 1,088,724 1,040,148 1,045,971 -42,753 -3.9 5,823 0.6
Daily Record 276,270 249,733 252,575 -23,695 -8.6 -2,842 1.1
Daily Star 600,304 544,811 547,955 -52,349 -8.7 -3,144 0.6
Sun 2,502,691 2,281,301 2,258,359 -244,332 -9.8 -22,942 -1
Total Daily 8,808,499 8,203,412 8,176,555 -631,944 -7.2 -26,857 -0.3
London Newspaper ABC Figures – August 2013
London Free Press Aug-12 Jul-13 Aug-13 YoY Actual Change YoY % Change PoP Actual Change PoP % Change
Quality
City A.M. 128,484 128,781 127,488 -966 -0.8 -1,293 -0.1
London Evening Standard 700,895 701,917 686,858 -14,037 -2 -15,059 -2.1
Metro (London) 775,252 770,569 756,658 -18,594 -2.4 -13,911 -1.8
Total London Press 1,604,631 1,601,267 1,571,004 -33,627 -2.1 -30,263 -1.9

In slight contrast to the daily and free papers, just over half the Sunday papers had a rise in month on month circulation. Most of these were the popular tabloid papers, such as Scotland’s Sunday Mail for example, which had the largest percentage increase of 3.4% (an additional 9,466 copies).

All the year on year figures for the Sunday papers was negative, with the Daily Star Sunday being 21.2% lower. Even some of the high quality papers had significant year on year declines, with both the Independent on Sunday and the Observer down in excess of 10%. The table below shows all the Sunday papers month on month and year on year average circulation figures.

National Sunday Newspaper ABC Figures – August 2013
Sunday Titles Aug-12 Jul-13 Aug-13 YoY Actual Change YoY % Change PoP Actual Change PoP % Change
Quality
Independent On Sunday 123,696 114,270 110,157 -13,539 -10.9 -4,113 -3.6
Observer 246,245 220,315 216,839 -29,406 -11.9 -3,476 -1.6
Scotland On Sunday 43,382 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Sunday Times 914,685 844,767 826,462 -88,223 -9.6 -18,305 -2.2
Sunday Telegraph 463,733 436,730 435,323 -28,410 -6.1 -1,407 -0.3
Mail On Sunday 1,811,463 1,658,035 1,675,474 -135,989 -7.5 17,439 1.1
Sunday Express 505,900 475,848 473,286 -32,614 -6.4 -2,562 -0.5
Sunday Post 275,608 242,033 244,637 -30,971 -11.2 2,604 1.1
Daily Star Sunday 439,621 341,733 346,205 -93,416 -21.2 4,472 1.3
Sunday People 457,964 419,115 425,293 -32,671 -7.1 6,178 1.5
Sun (Sunday) 2,133,616 1,927,406 1,916,570 -217,046 -10.2 -10,836 -0.6
Sunday Mail 315,077 281,157 290,623 -24,454 -7.8 9,466 3.4
Sunday Mirror 1,101,206 1,045,341 1,063,293 -37,913 -3.4 17,952 1.7
Total Sunday 8,832,196 8,006,750 8,024,162 -808,034 -9.1 17,412 0.2

In our opinion, one of the main reasons for the decline in print circulation is the broader choice and availability of news content via the internet and also more recently digital versions of the publications and apps created for mobile and tablet devises. Therefore, from an advertiser’s point of view, the continued decline in print circulation is not necessarily negative, it’s just a case of needing to explore all the available avenues in more detail.

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