Global events fail to lift quality newspaper circulation

Quality newspapers, despite covering gripping and complex global events ranging from upheaval in the Middle East to the Japanese earthquake, are failing to see circulation benefits, according to the latest data.

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The latest ABC figures show an 8.79% fall in total for the quality sector for the six month period October 2010 to March, year on year. The circulations are relatively stable month on month but no gains are being made.

The Times saw the biggest fall for the six months, year on year, down 13.49%. It managed a marginal rise month on month and its March circulation is 446,109.

The i, the sister title to The Independent, saw a drop in its month on month circulation of 2.45% to 171,415, after the hiatus of a TV advertising campaign for the 20 pence publication.

The Independent itself fell 0.32% month on month to 181,934 but is only down 2.65% for the six months, year on year. The Guardian is continuing to struggle, down 0.57% on February to 261,116 and falling 9.72% for the six month period, year on year.

The Daily Telegraph is down 0.31% % month on month to 626,416 and down 10.17% for the six month period, year on year.

The Financial Times’ circulation is up 0.78% to 381,658 and down 2.56% for the six months, year on year.

Popular press circulation fell 0.81% month on month and is down 5.38% year on year. Coverage of the Royal Wedding, which is ramping up as the big day approaches, is likely to a big help next month. The Sun continues to slide below 3 million, marginally down month on month to 2,817,857 and down 4.03% for the six months, year on year.

The Daily Mirror dropped 1.81% in March on February to 1,155,895 and is down 5.89% for the period, year on year, while the Daily Star has long since seen benefits from its price cut last year evaporate and fell 2.68% to 699,216. It’s down 9.32% for the six months, year on year.

In the mid market the Daily Mail fell 1.49% month on month to 2,039, 731 and is down 1.86% for the six months, year on year. The Daily Express, which may be up for sale by Northern & Shell, according to speculation, dropped 0.48% to 620,616 month on month and saw a steep year on year fall of 7.11%.

The Sunday market fared worse month on month with an overall drop of 1.68% compared to a 0.81% drop for the dailies. The phone hacking scandal surrounding the News of The World had not erupted in March and still may have little impact on circulation. Month on month the title is down 1.62% to 2,664,363 and is down 7.67% year on year. The Sunday Mirror fell 3.37% month on month to 1,063,096 and dropped 5.85% year on year. The biggest faller was the Daily Star Sunday, down 9.31% for the six months, year on year. Its March circulation was 293,489.

Among the national Sundays only the Independent on Sunday showed resilience, up marginally month on month to 153,183 and down only 2%year on year. The Observer is down 13.21% year on year and down 2.145 month on month to 296,023.

The Sunday Telegraph fell 1.29% in March to 481,941 and is down 8.72% year on year while The Sunday Times slid 9.06% year on year and its monthly circulation dropped 1.32% to 1,031,727.

In the mid-market The Sunday Express slumped 7.77% for the six months year on year and the Mail on Sunday fell 3.66%. The former’s circulation is 533,192 for March and the latter’s 1,888,040.

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