August newspaper circulation driven by hard news stories

The absence of the annual “silly season” for newspapers in August, with big stories such as the eruption of nationwide riots in the month, meant national titles did not experience their usual circulation slump.


The Sunday red tops fared the best of the entire UK newspaper market, with their total average net circulations up 6.72% month on month, according to the latest ABC report.

The sector is still reaping the benefit of the closure of the News of the World in July and also made gains on the back of coverage on the opening games of the football season.

The People marked the biggest month on rise of the sector, up 10.6% to 892,033 for the period and up 12.54% year on year.

The News of the World’s former closest competitor, the Sunday Mirror, was up 6.38% month on month to 1,900,460 and increased circulation 15.89% year on year.

Daily Star Sunday was up 5.88% for the period to 744,981 and marked the biggest year on year rise of the entire newspaper market of 20.83%.

Any gains made by the Mail on Sunday after the closure of the News of the World appear to have been stemmed in August. The title was down 6.97% month on month to 2,098,244, but is still up 2.8% year on year.

Its mid-market Sunday rival, the Sunday Express was up 4.47% to 677,779 and rose 3.29% year on year.

The Sunday quality market did not experience the same circulation increases as their popular counterparts. News International’s The Sunday Times was the only national paper to mark a rise in the period, up 1.77% month on month to 1,011,385, suggesting the toxicity of the News of the World may not have spread to its stablemate.

The Observer continued to fall, down 5.03% month on month to 274,304. The paper is down 10.86% year on year.

The Independent on Sunday was down 1.63% month on month to 164,518. The Sunday Telegraph also suffered a slight circulation decrease of 0.35% month on month to 499,612.

While the Sunday newspaper market avoided the usual buying disruption due to the holiday season, dailies seemed to take a slight hit in the August period, although not as much as in previous years.

The Guardian marked the biggest month on month fall of the sector. It was down 3.01% month on month to 241,287 and is down 10.12% year on year. The title no longer includes its international sales in its monthly audits, which affects the year on year figure.

The Independent was down 1.32% month on month to 180,470 and continues to be overtaken by sister title i, which was up 4.03% month on month to 191,077.

The Times was up 1.98% month on month to 449,938.

All the largest daily popular titles marked a minor circulation blip in August, despite their special promotions and editorial around launch of the new football season.

The Sun was down 0.92% month on month to 2,795,601 and is down 5.91% year on year. The Mirror dropped 0.91% to 1,174,924 and the Daily Star was down 0.5% to 703,218.

The national mid-market saw a slight average circulation increase of 0.65% in August.

The Daily Express was up 0.61% to 629,764 and the Daily Mail increased circulation 0.66% month on month to 2,063,728.

The Financial Times, which recently launched a global ad campaign, was down 1.4% month on month to 331,883.

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