Newspaper ABCs: A good month for quality newspapers but national sales down 10.3% on last March
Overview by Fiona Booth – Research Manager
The National newspaper market had a relatively positive month in March, with sales down by only 0.2% on February’s figures thanks to an almost buoyant Quality sector where all but one title saw circulation gains this month. Longer term, the market’s total circulation was down by a much steeper 10.3% on last March with only two titles, the i and The Times, claiming growth on 12 months ago.
The Sun holds on to the top spot with an average net circulation in March of 2,279,492, the only title still selling 2m+. Sister title The Sun Sunday hangs on to the number two position with average sales of 1,924,231, adding more sales in the month than any other title in the market (+11,588 copies). Rounding out the top three is the Daily Mail with an average net circulation in March of 1,821,684.
The Daily market fared marginally better than the Sunday, both month on month and year on year. Compared to February, sales in March were down 0.1% and 0.3% respectively, a less steep decline than we’ve seen in recent months. Longer term, however, the Dailies are down 8.4% while the Sundays are down 12.3%.
By sector, the Quality titles had a trend buckingly positive March, up 0.9% as all titles except The Observer posted increases in circulation on February. Sales for this sector are down 5.4% compared to the same time last year, but this is not as steep as the Populars and the Mid Markets which were down 7.0% and 14.2% respectively compared to last March. Month on month, however, the Populars and Mid Markets were both down 0.5%, with the only title across the two sectors to see any circulation growth on February The Sun Sunday.
Elsewhere, Popular sector titles saw the greatest losses both month on month and year on year. The Sunday Mirror yoyo-ed back down this month by 21,801 copies to shed the most physical sales of any title in the month, while The Sunday People saw the greatest percentage loss with sales down 2.6% on February. The Daily Star, who was one of the key beneficiaries of the News of the World’s demise, is down an eye watering 30.8% year on year. And while sister title The Independent languishes at the bottom of the pile, and by quite some margin, the i continues to scoop everybody else for greatest proportional increases in circulation on last month, last year, as well as adding the most physical sales over the long term, up 28,964 on last March.