Quality titles see election week circulation boost in May

The final frenzied week of general election coverage in May helped to lift the overall circulation of quality newspapers for the month, according to the latest ABC figures.

The quality sector saw a boost in average net circulation in May on the previous month by 2.56% but a fall for the six months December to May 2010 of 11.62%. The popular press also saw a drop of 0.45% month on month and 2.79% for the six months, year on year.

Eyes will be on the circulation of News International’s Times and the Sunday Times as the publisher prepares to enact a pay wall around the respective websites. There is speculation that the pay wall might drive up newspaper circulation, as a subscription to the newspapers gives access to the websites.

The Times saw the smallest uplift out of the quality sector in May with a jump of 1.65% to 515,379. The Sunday Times dropped 1.53% to 1,117,749.

The Guardian, which has been an advocate of free content on the web, saw circulation rise 4% in May to 300,472 but is still down 14.64% for the six months, period on period. The Telegraph, which has just parted company with editor-in-chief Will Lewis, saw a 2.23% rise to 698,456.

The Independent, which saw a sizeable marketing and sampling campaign under its new owner Alexander Lebedev, managed a 3.39% jump to 194,501.

The circulation of The Financial Times jumped 3.43% to 399,862.

Speculation suggests the popular press are about to enter a new cover price battle as The Daily Star and The Sun fiercely price promote across the summer, while the Daily Mirror stands by its 45 p cover price. The Star saw its circulation stay flat in May at 822,394 while The Sun fell 0.67%, to 2,936,099, the second month running that its circulation has dipped below 3m this year. The Daily Mirror fell 0.12% to 1,238,145. Year on year for the period the Daily Mirror fell the most, with a 7.69% drop.

The mid-market has barely moved with the Daily Mail down 0.27% to 2,090,469 and the Daily Express down 0.32% to 663,627.

The Sunday titles fell across all sectors with the mid-market taking the biggest hit, down 2.66%. The Mail on Sunday dropped 3.27% to 1, 918, 512 while the Sunday Express fell 1.06% to 568,247.

Two of the quality titles actually saw a rise in May with the recently relaunched Observer up 2.55% to 340,247 and The Sunday Telegraph up 0.52% to 512,819. The Independent on Sunday fell 2.36% to 164,188 and The Sunday Times dropped 1.53% to 1,117,749.

The popular Sunday titles were fairly resilient overall with Daily Star Sunday up 2.57% to 357,130 and the Sunday Mirror up 2.14% to 1,148,107. The News of The World dipped 1.62% to 2,858,727.

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