Winter snow torpedoes newspaper circulation

December’s national newspaper ABC circulation figures make bleak reading but probably reflect distribution problems and the disruption to consumer purchasing habits caused by the heavy snowfalls around the country.

Newspapers

While all titles were down on their November average net circulation, save The Independent, a fairer comparison is with July to December year-on-year with 2008 when the recession was just beginning to bite. It should also be taken into account that many titles have stripped out “bulk” copies this year.

The Sun, now firmly behind the Conservative party, saw a drop of 1.18% for the six month period, year on year to an average of 3,036,970 while its December figure was 2,862,935. The paper has just appointed Barnaby Dawe as its permanent marketing director.

The Daily Mirror fell 8.58% to 1,295,348 and The Daily Star, still cheaper than its rivals, saw a rise of 17.05% period on period to an average of 850,425. It dropped 4.68% December on November.

In the quality sector The Independent, now the subject of acquisition negotiations by Alexander Lebedev, was down 12.69% for the six month period to 187,354 and The Guardian saw a 9.5% drop to 313,026. The Daily Telegraph fell 5.26% to 778,552 and The Times, which has just raised its cover price to £1, fell8.75% to 565,279.

The Financial Times dropped 6.5% for the period, year on year, to 402,799 and only dropped 0.06% month on month.

The mid-market saw the Daily Mail fall 2.05% for the six month period, year-on-year, to 2,156,486 and the paper is likely to have benefitted in December from an X Factor scratchcard promotion, though it still dropped 1.65% month on month. The Daily Express dropped 4.5% year on year to 707,284.

In the Sunday market, The Observer, due to be overhauled on 21 February, is down 13.97% for the period, year on year, to 375,126 while the Sunday Times fell 1.27% to 1,177,799. The Sunday Telegraph dropped 4.05% to 583,241 and The Independent on Sunday plunged 12.01% to 157,788.

The Mail on Sunday, which has just relaunched, saw a 5.69% fall to 2,043,013 and the Sunday Express fell 5.81% to 618,390.

The News of the World fell 3.9% to 3,039,130 and the Sunday Mirror dropped 6.21% to 1,202,458. Daily Star Sunday rose 3.06% to 380,383.

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