ABC Analysis – How did national newspapers fare in July?

Experts from Carat in Edinburgh review the latest media data releases, divulge the key trends in media and offer insightful views using their own bespoke research.

Overview by Fiona Booth – Research Manager

The national newspaper market in July was down 1.01% on last month, according to new figures released today by ABC, with the dailies faring marginally better at -0.83% compared to the Sundays who fell slightly harder at - 1.19%. The total market’s decline over the year is somewhat steeper with total sales down 4.6% on last July, the dailies bearing the brunt of this, down 8.9%, whilst the Sundays were up a comparatively buoyant 0.26%.

The Sun stays on top of the pack, the highest circulating national newspaper with an average net circulation in July of 2,550,859. Physical copies were down 32,693, the third greatest drop of all the national titles and a greater loss than the month prior, part of which must be attributable to the 10p price hike in the month. July also saw The Sun’s first advertiser wraparound with BSkyB paying a reported £600,000 for the privilege. However, The Sun’s readers weren’t quite as impressed, with the title shedding a reported 135,000 copies that day.

The Daily Star added the most physical sales month on month which was also the greatest percentage growth, the uplift of 3.5% on June equating to an extra 21,238 sales. The Daily Express laid claim to losing the most physical sales over the last month which was also the greatest percentage drop, shedding 46,938 copies which equated to a circulation loss of 7.8%.

The Independent finally dropped below 90k in July as it stayed at the bottom, with an average net circulation of 83,619. Sales are now less than half of what they were last July thanks to the title cutting back on bulk sales. Sister title i, conversely, adding the most physical copies over the year as well as the greatest percentage as it took on bulks, up 52.5% on last July equating to an additional 96,445 copies.

Looking at the different sectors within the market, the Qualities bucked the trend by seeing a small lift in sales of 0.3% on June, with all but four titles in the sector posting increases month on month. Longer term, the picture is still of decline, 9.8% down on the same time last year.

The Mid Markets saw the worst sector performance month on month as well as year on year. Compared to last June, the sector was down 2.5% as all four titles lost circulation in July. Longer term, the sector is down 14.7%, with the two Sunday titles faring worst.

The Popular sector was down 0.73% in July compared to June. This time last year was the first month post News of the World, which saw most but not all of its readers picking up an alternative read. With the launch of the Sunday Sun, most of those refugees returned to their comforting NI read together with some of the readers who hadn’t found a substitute, resulting in the Sunday populars being up a market defying 4.9% this July compared to last.

All figures sourced from ABC

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