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ABC Analysis : The Nationals - February 2012

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By Carat on Media... | Media

March 9, 2012 | 4 min read

Overview by Fiona Booth - Research Manager

The Sun (Sunday) entered the national market with a bang in February, knocking it’s weekday stablemate off the number one spot with an audited launch circulation figure of 3,213,613! Admittedly this is based on the first day sales figures only so expect to see The Sun (Sunday)’s circulation settle down when March’s figures are released next month as the curiosity purchasers (like me) return to our regular reads. According to a report earlier this week in The Guardian, the second edition of The Sun (Sunday) was already down to around 2.6m copies.

So a pretty good month for the national newspaper market in February thanks to The Sun (Sunday) which helped add 2.5 million copies to overall sales figures , an increase of 16% on January’s total. Looking at how the market is faring compared to this time last year, if we include the News of the World’s figures for a realistic comparison, the national market in February was up 3.10% on the same period last year. Again, we should expect to see this figure come down a little as The Sun (Sunday) sales find their groove.

The Sun (not Sunday…?), in addition to being dethroned by its shiny new seventh day edition, also recorded the biggest loss in actual sales this month compared to last, down 168,918 copies, as well as across the year where sales were down 236,043 copies compared to February 2011.

However, The Independent lost the biggest percentage of sales across the month, with circulation down by 10.18% compared to January, as well as across the year, down 42.38% on February 2011. This is less a haemorrhaging of sales, and more a shift of bulks to its sister title i who’s circulation figures are benefitting as a result, adding the most copies this month compared to last both in actual copies (21,111) as well as by percentage (8.68%). The Independent is now sitting at 105,160, and one has to wonder how long before it falls under the 100k mark.

The growers over the last 12 months continue to be the Sunday populars who benefitted most from the News of the World’s exit back in July. The Sunday Mirror added the most physical copies compared to a year ago (494,116) whilst the Daily Star Sunday saw the greatest percentage growth, just about doubling its sales at 98%. But now that News International is back in the Sunday market, it will be interesting to see how quickly, and how many, of those gains are lost.

At sector level, all the Mids took a bit of a hit this month, collectively down 3% on last month and last year. The Daily Mail, despite running more promotions this month than any other newspaper, fell back under the 2 million mark. Again. It seems to have been yo-yoing over and under 2m ever since it first slipped under it back in October. The qualities were also down on the month and the year, although the month’s fall of 2% is less alarming than the longer turn decline of 10% when compared to February last year. The populars, on the surface, look to be having a roaring time of it, up 12% on last year (if we include News of the World’s February 2011 figures) and up 36% on last month with an additional title in the mix. We should have a better idea how things really look next month when we’ve got a full month’s worth of sales figures for The Sun (Sunday).

All figures sourced from ABC.

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