'Kitchen sink' rivals can't halt Guardian rise

By Dominic Ponsford

Guardian
editor Alan Rusbridger has told Press Gazette of his delight at
breaking sales records with the paper’s Berliner relaunch, despite what
he described as a “kitchen sink” strategy from rival titles.

The
Guardian, which relaunched on 12 September, was up 7.41 per cent for
the month to 404,187 (compared with a 6.26 per cent drop the month
before)n – putting it above 400,000 for the first time since December
2003.

According to Rusbridger, the paper has twice broken all-time records for individual daily sales in the past three weeks.

He said: “We’re doing some pretty thorough research on what readers make of it.

The
findings are hugely positive – 80 per cent approval against only four
per cent disapproval from Guardian readers [and broadly similar figures
for non-regulars]. On virtually every single indicator we’re scoring
much more positively now.

“As to ABC, we’re very encouraged, though these are obviously early days.

Our
rivals have paid us the compliment of taking the Berliner extremely
seriously – with enormous sums laid out on their own redesigns,
relaunches, DVDs, free books, cut-price subscriptions, trials, bulks
and giveaways. The Berliner seems to have prompted a kitchen sink
situation.”

The Guardian does not appear to have taken significant sales from its rivals.

The Independent was down 0.77 per cent year-on-year and The Daily Telegraph was slightly up by 0.4 per cent.

The
Times is still piling on sales nearly two years after its relaunch as a
compact and was almost as successful as The Guardian – up 5.83 per cent
to 699,425.Overall, the quality newspaper market grew by 2.24 per cent
in September, making it the only sector of the national press to be
attracting new readers.

Times editor Robert Thomson criticised
the Telegraph for its high proportion of discounted subscription sales
and the FT for its reliance on overseas sales.

He said: “In real sales The Daily Telegraph continues to waste away – it has more padding than a comfy cushion.

And the FT is the incredible shrinking newspaper – in this country it is better described as a financial newsletter.”

After
a strong July for the Evening Standard, the London daily is again
losing paid-for circulation at an alarming double-figure rate. Some
87,000 free Standard Lites keep its combined circulation above 400,000.

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