Election helps quality press with April circulation

Election coverage failed to help boost overall newspaper circulation in April, although the quality titles benefitted while the popular titles lost ground, according to the latest ABC figures.

The quality newspapers registered an overall drop of 0.2% month on month, dragged down by the performance of the Financial Times, which fell 3.66% to 386,590. The publisher attributes some of this to the effect of the Icelandic volcano disrupting flights on its international distribution.

All titles invested heavily in election coverage.The Guardian, which came out in support of the Liberal Democrats late in the campaign period, actually saw a rise of 2.07% month on month to 288,917 but is down 15.3% for the six months November 2009 to April 2010, year on year. This is partly due to stripping out “bulks”.

The Independent, which relaunched on 20 April under the new ownership of Alexander Lebedev, carried out a massive sampling campaign supported by advertising last month. Its average net circulation rose 2.16% to 118,119.

The Times, soon to put its online content behind a pay wall, saw a rise of 0.9% to 506,997 for April on March but is down 14.61% year on year. The Daily Telegraph fell 0.5% to 683,220.

The popular newspapers saw an overall fall of 1.16% in average net circulation. Within the sector, The Sun, backing the Conservative party, fell 1.64% month on month to 2,955,957, despite maintaining a promotional price in certain regions.

The Labour-supporting Daily Mirror saw a drop of 0.59% to 1,239,691 and even the Daily Star, recently buoyed by its cheap price, fell 0.48% to 823,025.

In the mid-market the Daily Mail saw its circulation rise 0.66% to 2,096,074 while the Daily Express fell 0.38% to 665,731.

The Sunday marketalso jumped for the quality press, up 1.66% overall. The Observer, recently relaunched, remained flat at 331,791, month on month but is down 19.2% for the six months, year on year. The Sunday Times rose 2.11% to 1,135,077 and The Sunday Telegraph also stayed flat on 510,146. The Independent on Sunday benefitted from the new marketing investment and rose 8.99% to 168,151.

Popular newspapers dipped 0.34% overall. The News of the World saw circulation stay flat at 2,905,780 month on month and The Sunday Mirror dropped 2.02% to 1,124,080.

The Mail on Sunday has benefitted from a revamp and is up 1.57% to 1,983,283 while the Sunday Express also saw a rise of 0.75% to 574,323.

The FT is introducing its own audience measurement model to gauge online and paper content sales.

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