Overview by Fiona Booth – Research Manager
August’s national newspaper sales were down a very negligible 0.4% from July, a smaller monthly drop than we’ve seen of late thanks in no small part to Olympic fever keeping most front pages busy, while the longer term trend saw a steeper drop of 5.5% when compared to sales this time last year.
The Sun holds on to pole position with an average net circulation in August of 2,502,691, this despite losing the most physical sales over the month (down 48,168 compared to July). Sister title The Sun Sunday follows closely behind with circulation in August month of 2,133,616, down 1.1% on last month as the title continues a slow descent from its original giddy launch circulation high. The Daily Mail rounds out the top three with an August figure of 1,914,126, pretty much treading water month on month but down 7.3% over the last twelve months to leave it looking up at the 2m+ club it used to be a part of.
The Mail on Sunday added the most physical copies this month (up 32,014 compared to July), helping lift the Sunday newspaper market in August by 0.3% versus last month while the Dailies were collectively down 1.0% for the same period. Over the year, the Dailies also took the greater hit, down 9.6% on last August, while the Sundays look relatively healthy at only being down 0.8%.
By sector, the Mid Markets fared best compared to last month with an increase of 0.5%, thanks to the Mail on Sunday’s performance. However, the Mids saw the steepest declines this August compared to last, down an eye watering 12.6% year on year. The Quality sector isn’t far behind, down 9.8% versus twelve months ago. Compared to July, however, the Qualities were down a negligible 0.03% only. As a sector the Popular titles collectively performed worst month on month at down 1%, but longer term they are up 1.4%. Bear in mind, however, that last August we were in a News of the World-less world, when not all of their ex-readers had replaced the red top with another read.
Elsewhere, the Daily Star who added 21,238 copies in July proceeded to shed them all again plus a few more this month (-23,200) after raising its cover price to 35p as it went into August.
The i continues to claim greatest growth year on year, up 47.3% compared to last August, due in no small part to taking on the bulks that sister title The Independent is shedding, whose sales are down a corresponding 54.7% versus this time last year.
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