Mirror slide slows as The Guardian grows

By Dominic Ponsford

The Daily Mirror outperformed The Sun in
December for the first time in more than a year, indicating that staff
may have finally put the brakes on its sales slide of recent years.

In February 2003, on the eve of the Iraq war, the Mirror was selling 2,042,092 – compared with the current figure of 1,700,902.

Sales
dipped below two million the following month as the paper’s continued
opposition to the war proved unpopular with many readers. Since then
the paper’s circulation problems have continued.

Early last year,
the Mirror was reporting monthly sales drops of as much as 9.7 per cent
year-on-year. But in December, the paper only dropped by 1.29 per cent
(compared with The Sun which dipped 1.9 per cent).

And it was the only red-top to achieve a sales rise compared with November.

This
week Trinity Mirror was expected to complete the axeing of around 30
editorial jobs from the Daily Mirror – so journalists may have a
tougher job repeating December’s sales performance in January.

Overall in the daily newspaper market, only the Financial Times, The Guardian and The Times managed yearon- year sales rises.

The FT’s 2.75 per cent year-on-year rise to 439,563 mainly reflects a 10,000 increase in UK bulk giveaway copies to 32,113.

The Guardian continues to feel the benefits of its format change to Berliner on 12 September – up 5.78 per cent to 380,693.

But the pace of growth is down compared with the 6.29 per cent rise the month before.

A reduction in bulk giveaways of 11,000 means The Guardian’s actual newsagent sale was up nine per cent year-on-year.

Four
TV promotions across the month – including a free DVD and a CD –
couldn’t stop Daily Mail sales sliding 0.34 per cent year-on-year.

With
the tabloid Times up 1.37 per cent to 661,400, one explanation is that
the News International title is taking readers from the mid-market.

In
the Sunday market, The Independent on Sunday’s tabloid relaunch of 16
October appears to have been successful, prompting a 7.18 per cent
circulation rise – which equates to a 10.05 per cent year-on-year
increase when bulks are removed.

The Sunday Telegraph’s £2m
relaunch on 6 November, which included the introduction of two new
magazine supplements, appears to have been less successful.

Sales for December dropped 6.57 per cent to 642,256.

Looking
at the ABC figures for the six months to December, only six out of 29
audited titles put on sales compared with the same period in 2004.

They
were: The Guardian, up 2.91 per cent; The Times, up 4.7 per cent; The
Independent on Sunday, up 0.67 per cent; Scotland on Sunday, up 0.27
per cent; Sunday Herald up 5.33 per cent; and The Sunday Times up 2.05
per cent.

Free London financial paper City AM recorded its first
official ABC distribution figure of 69,035. The paper launched last
September.

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