Analysis: ABC figures for October 2011
The latest ABC figures continued to highlight the decline in circulation for daily printed newspapers across the UK, with some Sunday titles however witnessing an uplift following the closure of the News of the World. Martin Wilson, account manager for Press at Carat takes a look at what it all means.
The October instalment of ABC figures takes us into the final quarter of a year which has been one of the most turbulent in the modern era of newspapers. The News of the World may be gone but it is far from forgotten as the saga drags on and on (James Murdoch being likened to a Mafia leader in his questioning this week). Sunday paper drama aside it is another familiar month for newspaper circulations. Overall, the daily market has fallen 1.2% on September and 6.6% on October 2010. The Sunday market’s month on month drop is 2%, so nearly double that of the dailies. The year on year increase of 17.8% appears to be a positive, but more on this later…
The Quality sector contains the only two daily titles to recognise a month on month increase in circulation so the FT (up 0.1% - at least it’s an increase) and the i (up 14.7%) can accept our plaudits. The Daily Telegraph remains by far the biggest selling quality daily and despite a 0.5% drop on September’s figures it’s circulation remains above the 600K mark. However, the Daily Telegraph upped its cover price this week to make it and the Guardian the most expensive titles in the quality dailies sector, and it will be interesting to see what effect this will have on its November figures.
The previously mentioned i continues its remarkable run of form by smashing through the 200K barrier with a 14.7% increase taking it to 211,467 copies. This must be viewed as fantastic progress for a new title in the market which has grown in circulation considerably since it’s ABC debut of 133,472 copies away back in January. This was a slightly unexpected monthly rise considering a drop of over 6,000 copies between August and September and this monthly rise represents its biggest circulation increase since the first month it was launched. So where are all these new readers coming from? Let’s ask big sister, the Independent, who’s circulation was down a whopping 24.6% from September to October…
Amongst the mid-markets, the status quo was more or less maintained with both the Mail and the Express losing 0.5% of their sales month on month. The year on year figures are not so marginal though, particularly for the Mail which is down 6.2% on this time last year, which represents a loss of just under 131,000 copies.
There were no particular disasters amongst the red tops either. All titles lost circulation with the worst offender being the Daily Star with a monthly drop of 3.3%. A drop of 0.4% on September’s sales gave the Sun the best performance in this sector. However, the Sun has lost 188,000 sales across the last twelve months.
So back to that 17.8% increase year on year in the Sunday Market, which must mean all is rosy. Not so, as this figure only takes into account the papers still publishing in Oct 2011 against their Oct 2010 figures. What this increase doesn’t take into account is the 2.8 million copies the News of the World was circulating this time a year ago. In total the Sunday national market sold just under 7.8 million papers a week in October 2011. This time last year that figure was 9.4 million. There are clearly a lot of people out there who have not replaced the NOTW with another Sunday alternative.