Observer sees big circulation drop

The relaunch of the The Observer and its accompanying marketing campaign has come just in time, if ABC figures for February are an indication.


The title saw a 17.26% drop in average net circulation to 363,650 for the six months September 2009 to February 2010 year on year.

However, some of the drop can be explained by a deliberate decision by Guardian News and Media (GNM) to reduce the number of copies published in Europe by 12,000 for The Guardian and 13,000 for The Observer.

It does mean that there is a lot riding on the relaunch of The Observer, which took place at the very end of February.

In the week day market, all sectors saw drops with the popular titles down 2.32% for the six month period, year on year, and the mid market down 3.05%. The biggest fall came in the quality press with the average net circulation down 9.76% year on year.

Falls month on month were relatively slight in each sector. The Sun dipped below 3 m again, down 1.12% to 2,792,763 while the Daily Mirror saw a rise of 1.36% to 1,234,967. However, the latter dropped 9.11% for the six months, year on year. The Daily Star continued to see circulation rise month on month and year on yea. Its February figure stood at 803,859.

All quality tiles dipped month on month, albeit by small percentages, except The Guardian, which fell 5.88% to 284,514, with the aforementioned GNM reasons mentioned contributing.

The Sunday publications also fell across the sectors with popular titles down 5.28% for the six months, year on year and the mid market down 6.18%. Again, the quality market suffered most, down 7.35%.

However, month on month, the Independent on Sunday, currently the object of acquisition negotiations, rose 1.09% to 155,661.

ABC has just overhauled its structure to give more focus to digital activity by newspaper brands

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