ABC Analysis : The Nationals - March 2012
Overview by Fiona Booth – Research Manager
After a lovely boost in total sales last month, courtesy of The Sun (Sunday)’s entrance into the market, March’s national newspapers settled down, and down again, to show a drop in sales across the entire national market of 9.3% compared to February. The longer term trend is also down, by 5.5% compared to March 2011 when including the News of the World figures for a like with like comparison.
March also brought us the first full month audited figure for the Sun (Sunday) and as expected it’s settled down from that February launch high of 3.2 million to 2,426,894, shedding the most physical copies of any of the national titles this month as it lost 24% of that initial circulation figure posted in February. The March figure is also down on the News of the World’s circulation a year ago of 2,664,363.
The Sun (Sunday)’s losses in March also included its very short lived crown as the highest circulating national title, which sister daily The Sun reclaimed this month with a circulation figure for March of 2,614,725. The Sun also added the most physical copies during March, and is one of only two titles in the market seeing growth of more than one percent this month at 1.26%.
In contrast, The Independent was the lowest circulating national, posting an audited circulation this month of 100,672, losing the most sales of any title, down 45% on March 2011, as it continues to cut back on bulks (my money is on it finally slipping beneath the 100k mark next month). Sister title i, on the other hand, saw the greatest percentage growth in the last month, up almost 4% on February, and helped in no small part by taking on some of those bulk sales that its sibling title is shedding.
The biggest percentage drops over the month were, unsurprisingly, from the Sunday red tops as the readers they managed to scoop up from the News of the World leave them for The Sun (Sunday). The People was the worst hit across all the nationals, down 34% on last month. The Sunday Mirror follows closely behind with 31% fewer readers than it had in February. Compared to this time last year, when the News of the World was still in the market, the two populars are down 3% and up 4% respectively, so they really are pretty much back where they started!
The other Sunday red top, the Daily Star on Sunday, took a hit on the month as well as it shed 19% of its sales to fall back under the half million mark, but compared to this time last year it’s still up a massive 65% on March 2011 as it appears to have held on to its News of the World refugees better than its competitors in the Sunday popular arena.
Elsewhere, the quality titles as a whole trod water from February to March, with circulation down a negligible 0.5% in a month. Longer term, the quality sector has lost almost 10% of total sales on this time last year. The Mids are also down, 2.7% on the month and 4.8% on the year.
All figures sourced from ABC.