Overview by Fiona Booth – Research Manager
Without the Olympics boost this month national newspaper sales in September fell by 2.0% month on month, with only three titles posting increases when compared with August’s figures – FT, i, and The Guardian. Longer term the market’s decline is steeper, with average sales in September down 4.8% when compared to the same time last year.
With an average net circulation in September of 2,445,361 The Sun continues to sit comfortably on top of the pile, despite losing the most physical copies in a month for the second month running (down 57,330 compared to August). Close behind is sister title The Sun Sunday posting an average net circulation figure of 2,082,755, the only other national newspaper to post over 2m copies this month (however, if this month’s decline of 2.4% continues it won’t be able to claim that for too much longer!). In third place is the Daily Mail with average sales in September of 1,884,815.
Compared to last month the Daily market is faring slightly better than the Sundays, although both are down on August at 1.6% and 2.4% respectively. Longer term the Dailies’ decline is steeper, down 8.7% compared to last September whereas the Sundays are almost treading water with a decline of only 0.4% as the NotW/Sun Sunday effect continues to be felt.
By sector, the Quality titles fared best in September when compared to last month but were still down by 1.5%, and this despite containing the only three titles to post increases versus August. The Mids and Populars were down 2.1% and 2.2% respectively compared to last month, however, the Mids saw the steepest decline this September compared to last, down a whopping 11.4% year on year. The Quality sector isn’t far behind with average sales down 8.6% compared to twelve months ago. The Popular sector however bucked the long term trend, up 1.0% on the same time last year when News International didn’t have a Sunday red top in play and not all of the old News of the World readers had replaced the red top with another read.
The Financial Times had a great performance month on month compared to the rest of the market, adding the most physical copies (7,771) as well as the greatest percentage increase in sales (2.8%) compared to August. At the other end of the scale, the Daily Star Sunday took the biggest percentage hit, losing 7.4% of its sales versus last month.
Over the year, the i continues to claim the greatest (and only!) growth on last September both in terms of adding the most physical copies (98,593) as well as seeing the biggest percentage increase in average sales (53.5%), thanks in no small part to its parent company moving bulks from sister title The Independent who are down a corresponding 54.1% versus this time last year, the biggest percentage fall in the market.
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