News International’s long unbroken reign as the UK’s most influential national newspaper publisher would appear to be over.
Media information company Mediatel has crunched the numbers and finds that, if you include free daily Metro, Associated Newspapers now has the biggest cumulative circulation total of any national newspaper publishing group.
Associated’s total weekly circulation of 21,423,551 (six days of Daily Mail, five Metros plus the Mail on Sunday) gives it a market share of 29.95 per cent versus News International on 20,570,706 copies a week (from The Sun, The Times and the Sunday Times) and a market share of 28.76 per cent.
These two both have more than double the weekly circulation of the next two biggest national publishers: Mirror Group Newspapers and Northern and Shell, according to Mediatel’s numbers.
Just a year ago, News International had a lead of nearly four million copies a week on Associated Newspapers. Going back to 1998, News International had a weekly circulation of 32,076,410 giving it a 35 per cent market share, versus MGN with 17,953,482 copies a week and Associated down on 16,308,804.
No wonder Tony Blair was so keen to woo Rupert Murdoch back then.
The new figures take into account the ABC-audited national newspaper circulation figures for July, the first month to show the impact on other publishers of the closure of the News of the World on 10 July.
They show the extent to which the hacking scandal and the closure of News of the World has radically changed the media landscape, and severely curbed the influence of the Rupert Murdoch-owned News International group. For now anyway. News International has yet to rule out launching a Sunday edition of The Sun, or some other Sunday tabloid title, a move which would almost certainly put it back in the lead.