Daily Sport owner remains confident despite 11 per cent circulation drop

The relaunched Daily Sport is expected to post an 11 per cent plunge in circulation when the latest ABC figures for the month of May are released this afternoon.

In a trading update today, the paper's owner Sport Media Group said the initial reaction to the paper's relaunch on 21 April had been "disappointing".

The revamp was overseen by Sport Media Group editor-in-chief and Zoo founder Barry McIlheney and editorial consultant James Brown, the founder of Loaded. The paper's adult classified adverts have been moved to a stand-alone supplement in a bid to lure mainstream advertisers, while editorial content has moved in on lads' mag territory with sport news and girls.

The May ABC figures, which are released at noon, will be the first gauge of how popular the move has been.

The trading statement said that the figures for May are expected to show a 11 per cent month-on-month decline, bringing the title's average daily circulation down to around 85,000.

"The board remains confident that the revised style of the paper will attract new readers and advertisers," Sport Media Group said.

"However the board also recognises that this may take longer, and require more promotion than previously expected."

Sales of the Daily Sport fell below the 100,000 mark for the first time in March, and the paper's audited ABC figure for April was 95,060.

Sport Media Group chief executive Andrew Fickling said: "While the board is naturally disappointed with the initial reaction to the relaunched daily title, I am pleased to note that performance over the most recent weeks indicates a growing acceptance of the new format.

"This complements the feedback we have had from potential advertisers, readers and retailers. The paper will continue to evolve as we reintroduce it to our existing audience and strike the right balance to appeal to more new readers."

For full coverage of the national newspaper circulation figures for May, see www.pressgazette.co.uk from noon today.

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