NRS: Star up 11% as Standard doubles readership

Richard Desmond’s Daily Star and the Financial Times were the only national daily newspapers to increase readership in the year to the end of December.

The Daily Star’s readership grew 11 per cent year-on-year to an estimated average of 1.58m last year. The Financial Times readership grew by an estimated four per cent to 434,000 in the same period.

The readership increase of both papers was dwarfed by London Evening Standard which more than doubled its readership, according to the latest National Readership Survey figures released today.

Press Gazette revealed earlier this month that after revamping as a free newspaper the readership of the Standard shot up to 1.37m in the last 11 weeks of 2009.

The title, owned by Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev, discarded its 50p cover price in October, and upped its 250,000 circulation to a free distribution of around 600,000.

Today’s NRS confirmed that readership of the Standard increased by 133 per cent in the 12 months to the end of December to an estimated average of 1.39m.

Both the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Express recorded neither growth nor decline in their estimated readerships over the period. The Telegraph remained on 1.91m and the Express on 1.57m.

The Guardian recorded a fall in readership of eight per cent year-on-year to 1.15m.

The Times dropped an estimated two per cent to 1.77m, as did The Independent which fell to an estimated average readership of 671,000.

The readership of The Sun remained the largest of the national dailies at 7.76m despite falling by one per cent year-on-year.

The Daily Mail remained the second most read daily newspaper with 4.93m readers, although this was a decline of three per cent year-on-year.

The estimated readership of the Daily Mirror dropped by five per cent to 3.43m, according to the NRS.

NRS gathered its data by surveying 36,000 people to estimate newspaper readership, unlike the Audit Bureau of Circulations, which audits the number of copies of papers distributed.

Richard Desmond’s Daily Star Sunday was also the biggest climber in the Sunday newspaper market. Its estimated readership jumped 11 per cent in the period to 943,000.

The only other Sunday national newspaper to increase estimated readership was The Sunday Times. It recorded a readership of 3.24m, a growth of one per cent.

The most read Sunday newspaper, according to the NRS, remained the News of the World with a readership of 7.66m, a drop of two per cent year-on-year.

The Sunday Mirror also recorded an estimated readership drop of two per cent year-on-year as it fell to 3.88m.

The biggest fallers in the Sunday market were The People, which dropped 12 per cent to an estimated readership of 1.35m and the Independent on Sunday which dropped 15 per cent to an estimated readership of 612,000.

The Mail on Sunday remained the second most read Sunday paper with an estimated readership of 5.39m, a drop of four per cent year-on-year.

The Sunday Express had an estimated readership of 1.63m, a drop of seven per cent year-on-year.

The recently relaunched Observer newspaper recorded a fall in readership of six per cent year-on-year in the period to 1.29m, while the Sunday Telegraph was flat as it again had 1.71m estimated readers.

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