Scratchcards lift Mirror sales

A lookalike National Lottery scratchcard game has helped the Daily Mirror post a 100,000 rise in circulation during the month of May and made News International enter the scratchcard market.

The Mirror registered a 3.7 per cent May over April increase in its ABCs, taking circulation to 2,581,017. The newspaper has increased its Saturday sales – the day the scratchcards are published – by about ten per cent.

The newspaper’s circulation is now at the highest level since September 1993 when The Sun first cut its cover price.

News International has started publishing Winstants scratchcards for The Sun this week. It has also booked airtime for the launch of a News of the World scratchcard game next weekend. The original Sun Winstants game was a simple telephone competition intended as a spoiler.

“This is the most successful marketing initiative we’ve run since bingo came to newspapers,” says Mirror Group marketing director Amanda Platell.

“I can’t remember any time when The Sun copied one of our promotions,” she adds.

Express newspapers also started a scratchcard promotion at the beginning of this month.

When Mirror Group launched its scratchcards, the National Lottery operator Camelot said it would be studying the copyright implications of the newspaper’s move.

Industry observers believeThe Times is heading for a circulation of more than 700,000, following May’s 5.4 per cent increase in sales. After levelling out at about 630,000 over the past four months, The Times increased its circulation to 664,501, indicating that the sales growth generated by lowering its price to 20p has not peaked.

The increase in The Sun’s price by two pence to 25p this week is worth the same in cover price revenue to News International as a 10p rise on The Times, suggesting that the broadsheet’s discounting policy will continue.

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