August: Times soars, Guardian plunges, woe at the Express titles

Dominic Ponsford
 
Has the Guardian’s £80 million relaunch in Berliner format come in time to salvage its plunging circulation?
 
In August the paper’s sale dropped to a new low
of 341,698 – down 6.26 per cent year-on-year and the worst performance
in the quality daily market.
 
The drop is partly due to a reduction in 10,000
on bulk give-away copies. And the paper is also understood to have
suspended marketing activity pending the relaunch in Berliner format on
Monday.
 
But going on August’s figure the paper will have
to put on 40,000 sales just to get back to where it was two years ago
before the launch of the tabloid Independent.
 
In the battle of the tabloid quality papers, The
Times is now coursing ahead – up 4.96 per cent year-on-year and selling
32,000 more copies than it did this time last year.
 
Elsewhere at News International there is cause
for celebration because both the Sun and the News of the World
comfortably out-performed their markets.
The Sun was down a creditable 0.07 per cent year-on-year, compared to
the Daily Mirror down 2.82 per cent. And the News of the World enjoyed
its first year-on-year circulation increase for some months – up 0.34
per cent.
 
The brakes appear to have gone on at The
Independent which has seen its second successive year-on-year
circulation drop. Last month was the first year-on-year drop since it
brought out a tabloid version in September 2003.
 
At Express Newspapers both of its flagship titles appear to be in
serious circulation trouble. The Daily Express is down 8.76 per cent
year-on-year and the Sunday Express down 12.59 per cent.
At 876,563 the Daily Express now lags behind the Star sales wise.
 
Both Express titles have been subject to
editorial cost-cutting and Express
Newspapers is now the only major UK national newspaper publisher (apart
from the Financial Times) yet to announce investment in the next
generation of colour printing technology. Such presses are seen as
vital to the long-term viability of national newspapers.
 
The Daily
Telegraph was able to claim a minor victory in its circulation war with
The Times by saying that the circulation gap between the two titles was
10,000 bigger this month than last month.
 
The Telegraph said its figures were boosted by coverage of the start of
the football season, the launch of its popular Fantasy Football
game and by coverage of the nail-biting Ashes cricket series.
 
Editor Martin Newland said: “We are justly proud of our sports
coverage, competitions and reputation. As the new season kicks in, we
are reaping the benefits of our top class sports team”.
 
National
newspaper ABC figures for August (average circulation, percentage up or
down compared with August last year)
 
National morning popular
 
Daily Mirror – 1,769,771 – down 2.82 %
Daily Record – 474,186 – down
4.94 %
Daily Star – 893,601 – down 2.8 %
The Sun – 3,361,396 – down 0.07 %
 
National morning mid market
 
Daily Express – 876,563 – down 8.76 %
The Daily Mail – 2,384,943 – down 0.92 %
 
National morning quality
 
The Daily Telegraph – 904,660 – down 0.84 %
Financial Times – 413,882 – up 1.83 %
The Herald – 77,385 – down 3.56 %
The Guardian – 341,698 – down 6.26 %
The Independent – 255,906 – down 2.54 %
The Scotsman – 71,998 – down 0.7 %
The Times 680,214 – up 4.96 %
 
National morning sporting
 
Racing Post – 76,768 – down 2.92 %
London evening
Evening Standard – 316,453 – down 7.07 %
 
National weekly sporting
 
Sport First – 14,070 – down 53.16 %
 
National Sunday popular
 
Daily Star Sunday – 434,863 – down 14.61 %
News of the World – 3,759,443 – up 0.34 %
Sunday Mail – 567,704 – down 4.94 %
Sunday Mirror – 1,558,367 – down 6.07 %
The People – 945,803 – down 7.4 %
Sunday Sport – 159,317 – up 1.69 %
 
National sunday mid market
 
Sunday Express – 919,583 – down 12.59 %
The Mail on Sunday – 2,272,476 – down 2.87 %
 
National Sunday quality
 
Independent on Sunday – 202,248 – down 7.48 %
The Business – 194,206 – down 7.26 %
The Observer – 425,737 – down 1.26 %
Scotland on Sunday – 87,043 – down 2.71 %
Sunday Herald – 61,687 – up 9.01 %
The Sunday Telegraph – 669,747 – down 5.26 %
The Sunday Times – 1,357,916 – up 2.46 %
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