i nears its target circulation with 31% lift

The Independent’s sister newspaper i is nearing its reported target circulation of 180,000 with a 31% month on month increase in February.

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In i’s second set of monthly Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) figures, it increased circulation to 175,714. Of that figure, 167,944 is news trade sales, while 7,770 are “bulks” supplied to British Airways and BMI.

Andrew Mullins, managing director of i and The Independent, says: “The combined package that we are now able to offer across i and the Independent gives advertisers access to a quality broadsheet-reading audience that is significantly bigger than that of the Guardian.”

In the national quality market, circulation was down in February just 0.82% month on month as titles reported heavily on the various citizen uprisings in Africa and the Middle East. However, the sector is down 9.66% year on year.

There is a question mark over whether the i will cannibalise The Independent’s circulation. The parent newspaper dropped 1.3% month on month to 182,513 and is down 2.81% year on year. The Guardian, the Independent’s close competitor in terms of target audience, saw circulation drop 5.98% month on month to 262,612 and is down 10.45% year on year.

The Daily Telegraph’s circulation declined 3.51% month on month to 646,517 and the title is down 12.04% year on year. It recently launched a loyalty service in a bid to increase subscriber retention. The Times’ circulation dropped 2.47% to 445,962, down 14.13% year on year – the largest yearly decline in the quality market.

In the mid-market, the Daily Mail’s circulation fell 3.09% month on month to 2,070,625 – perilously close to falling below its psychological 2 million benchmark – and is down 1.56% year on year. The Daily Express fell 2.54% month on month to 623,603 and is down 7.12% year on year.

The overall average net circulation for the tabloid market was down 4.02% month on month and circulation is dropping off 4.52% year on year.

Last month the Sun’s circulation was above 3 million for the first time in five months but it has once again fallen below the yardstick. Its circulation fell 6.11% month on month to 2,818,344 and is down 3.42% year on year.

The Daily Star is down 2.16% month on month to 718,478. The Daily Mirror also dropped, down 1.41% month on month to 1,177,220.

Circulation for the Financial Times has continued to slide and is down 1.14% month on month to 378,708, down 2.46% year on year. However, the paper prefers to rely on its own measurement system ADGA which reports a cross-platform readership figure. The newspaper’s director of brand and b2b marketing Caroline Halliwell says her focus for 2011 is to convert registered users on its website into paying subscribers.

The Sunday newspaper market fell 1.81% month on month, although three newspapers marked a slight increase in February.

The Sunday Times’ circulation rose 0.59% month on month to 1,045,495 but is down 9.44% year on year. The Independent on Sunday also increased by 0.14% to 152,782 and is down 2% year on year.

In the Sunday popular market, the Daily Mirror increased circulation by 0.67% to 1,100,177 , down 6.01% year on year.

Among the other Sunday popular titles, the News of the World, which launched its men’s supplement Jam last week, was down 2.92% month on month to 2,708,158.

The Observer was down 3.72% month on month to 302,490, continuing its sharp year on year slide which now averages 13.92%. The Sunday Telegraph is down 1.59% month on month to 488,218 and is down 10.52% year on year.

In the Sunday mid-market, the Sunday Express is down 3.09% month on month to 533,293 and the Mail on Sunday dropped 1.71% to 1,924,589.

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