Sunday red tops benefit massively from News of the World closure

The Sunday tabloid newspaper market saw an unprecedented circulation boost in July following the closure of the News of the World.


The Sunday red tops’ circulations were up 66.38% in July, according to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulation report, as former News of the World readers migrated to new newspapers.

Northern & Shell’s Daily Star on Sunday was the biggest winner, with its circulation up a massive 129.96% month on month to 703,631. The July bump means the title is now up 3.38% year on year.

Daily Star on Sunday ran a series of promotional campaigns, including launching a new celebrity magazine, OK! Extra, and a series of TV adverts to entice News of the World readers over.

The Sunday Mirror was up 64.23% month on month to 1,786,454, meaning the title is now up 4.46% year on year. The paper also cut its price following the closure of the News of the World, despite owner Trinity Mirror saying it would never run price promotions on its daily newspaper, The Mirror.

The People marked the second biggest circulation hike of the Sunday newspaper sector. It was up 69.96% month on month to 806,544.

The Sunday midmarket also benefited from the News of the World’s shutdown. The Mail on Sunday was up 16.99% month on month to 2,225,399 – back over its psychological 2 million barrier. It was reported in July that the Daily Mail’s owner was considering the launch of a Sunday red top to fill the gap of the News of the World, although details have yet to be revealed.

The Sunday Express was up 20.27% to 648,806, but is down 0.78% year on year.

The Sunday quality market was mixed in July, although the entire sector was up 1.83% month on month.

The Independent on Sunday, which has seen circulation rapidly decline in recent months, was up 10.59% month on month to 167,247, although the title is still down 2.71% year on year.

News International’s quality Sunday, the Sunday Times, seemed to feel the negative impact of the phone hacking scandal at its stablemate, compared to its competitors. The newspaper was down 0.71% month on month to 993,768 – the first time it has dipped below the 1 million mark this year.

The Observer was down 0.03% month on month to 288,842, although its circulation figures were dented by the withdrawal of its international editions from the ABC audit, which sold about 18,000 copies. The Guardian was down 2.93% month on month to 248,775 after the loss of its international edition from the audit, which accounted for about 7% of its sales.

The entire daily newspaper market’s circulation was up slightly in July, boosted by big news stories such as the death of Amy Winehouse and the Norwegian massacre.

News International’s daily red top The Sun appeared not to have been affected by the phone hacking scandal in terms of circulation. It was up 0.53% month on month to 2,821,618 and is down 5.61% year on year.

The Daily Mirror was up 1.30% month on month to 1,185,729. Despite the success of its Sunday sister title, The Daily Star was down 0.20% month on month to 706,757.

In the quality market, the i newspaper continues to prosper and marked a circulation higher than that of its sister title The Independent for the first ever time. The title was up 6.07% month on month to 183,677.

The Independent was up 3.51% month on month to 183,881 but circulation is declining 3.29% year on year.

The Times, which still covered the phone hacking scandal that took place at News International’s offices despite having a commercial attachment, was up 0.14% month on month to 441,205.

In the mid-market, the Daily Express was up 0.66% month on month to 625,952 and the Daily Mail was up 0.14% to 2,050,132. The Daily Mail’s owner, DMGT, recently warned of a “weak” advertising affecting all national newspapers.

The Financial Times failed to benefit from reporting on the catastrophic slide in global financial markets. It was down 5.50% month on month to 336,590.

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