The Sun’s circulation fell below 3 million for the first time in 34 years, despite dropping its cover price to just 20p in the South East, according to the latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC).
The tabloid’s sister titles News of the World, The Sunday Times and The Times also saw sales drop month on month, making grim reading for News Corporation Europe chief executive James Murdoch, who only took over the role last month.
The Sun recorded an average circulation of 2,985,672 last month, a drop of 3% from November. Rival tabloid, Daily Mirror, slipped below the million and a half mark, falling from just over 1.5 million in November to an average circulation of 1,494,114. Meanwhile, the Daily Star dropped 3.58% month-on-month to 726,465 for December.
The Daily Mail posted a modest circulation drop of 0.72%, slipping from 2,327,507 to 2,310,806 and the Daily Express dropped 2.91% to 744,539.
The Daily Star Sunday reported the biggest changes for the Sunday tabloids with a drop of 14,56% to 360,416 for December, although it has grown 1.5% from December 2006. The Sunday Mirror fell by 3.18% to just over 1.3 million, whereas the News of the World dropped by 3.46% to 3,167,435
The Mail on Sunday slipped by 4.94% to 2,209,642, but remains well ahead of rival Sunday Express, which fell 1.42% to 677,480 from 687,253.
The Sunday quality sheets fared worse, all slipping month on month and year on year. Market leader The Sunday Times fell 5.23% to 1,148,329 from 1,213,878 in November; The Sunday Telegraph dropped 5.27%, posting a circulation of 611,293 from 645,305 a month earlier and The Observer went from 454,374 to 429,420 – a fall of 5.49%. The Independent on Sunday lost just 2.53%, but dropped below 200,000 copies. It went from an average monthly circulation of 203,369 to 198,222.
The Times’ circulation is also down, dropping 3.4% to 615,313, the biggest fall in its category. The Telegraph dropped just 1.06 to 873,523 copies and The Guardian 0.94% to 353,436. However, The Financial Times grew by a modest 0.97%, reaching 873,523 copies, a rise that is attributed to the flurry of bad business news towards the end of last year.