The Sun and Daily Mail look to be the early leaders in the race to pick up readers from the closure of Today newspaper.
The Sun is believed to have added sales of 220,000 last week to its circulation of 4,093,000 the week before. That signifies a five per cent circulation growth in a week for the title, and represents 42 per cent of Today’s final circulation.
The Daily Mail, which last week offered free copies to Today’s home delivery customers, is believed to have added around 150,000 in circulation to reach 2,013,000. The rise is equivalent to eight per cent of its total of 1,864,000 in the week before Today closed.
Today is understood to have sold an average of 608,000 copies in its last five days on sale.
The Daily Mirror is estimated to have increased its circulation by about 120,000, or just under five per cent, which would take it to over 2,553,000.
Publishers are cautious about crowing too early, because last week was a strong news week, with Princess Diana’s Panorama interview and the end of the Rosemary West murder trial.
“What the circulation is on Twelfth Night will be more important than last week,” says one ad director. “It may be more than just Christmas decorations that are coming down by then.”
The fact that two Conservative newspapers have picked up so many of Today’s readers has raised questions about the importance of a newspaper’s political loyalty.
“Alternatively it shows what a waste of time making Today a Labour paper was,” adds one agency buyer.