Overview by Fiona Booth – Research Manager
National newspaper sales in December fell by 2.5% month on month, with only three titles posting increases when compared with November’s figures – FT, the Daily Telegraph, and The Guardian. Longer term the decline is a little steeper, with average sales for all national newspapers in December down 3.9% compared to the same time last year.
The Sun was the biggest selling national newspaper this month with an average net circulation in December of 2,277,809, and the only national title to sell more than 2 million copies. In second place is sister title The Sun Sunday who finally dropped below the 2 million mark, as we predicted they would, to post an average net circulation figure of 1,886,739 in December thanks to seeing the steepest drop month on month of all the titles both in percentage terms as well as actual (-6.1% and -122,543 copies respectively). This is a far cry from its heady launch circulation of 3.2 million less than a year ago. Nipping at The Sun Sunday’s heels is the Daily Mail with average sales in December of 1,844,569.
The Daily market contines to outperform the Sunday, although in this case outperform means “fare not quite as badly”. Both markets are down on November at 1.9% and 3.1% respectively. Longer term the Sundays look to be doing better, up 1.0% on last December compared to the Dailies’ decline of 8.0%, thanks to the still ongoing ripples caused by the NotW closure/Sun Sunday launch in 2012.
By sector, the Quality titles fared best in December when compared to last month but were still down by 1.1%, and this despite containing the only three titles to post increases month on month. The Mids and Populars were down 1.9% and 3.5% respectively compared to November, however, the Mids saw the steepest decline this Decmeber compared to last, down an eye watering 11.6% year on year. By comparison, the Quality sector dropped 6.2% year on year. The Popular sector continues to buck the long term trend by showing growth of 2.6% on the same time last year. However, this “growth” is attributable entirely to The Sunday Sun sales this December countering the lack of a News Int red top in the market last December, as every other red top in the sector posted losses year on year.
The Financial Times yo-yoed back up this month to claim the greatest growth month on month both in percentage terms as well as actual (+1.7% and +4,519 respectively). Longer term, the i continues to claim the greatest (and only!) growth on last December both in percentage terms as well as actual (+31.4% and +69,596 respectively) thanks in no small part to its parent company moving bulks across from sister title The Independent, who was the smallest circulating title in the national newspaper market in December with an average net circulation of 78,082.
All figures sourced from ABC.