Readership hike for seven dailies

Seven out of 12 national daily newspapers have shown estimated readership increases according to the biannual National Readership Survey.

The survey is composed of readership estimates and does not represent actual sales. It is based on interviews with 36,000 people, but the NRS admits the sample varies slightly each year, making year-on-year comparisons unreliable.

The Financial Times’s average readership for the year to June 2007 was 398,000, a 15 per cent year-on-year increase, while The Daily Telegraph showed a seven per cent increase to 2.16 million. The Daily Express lost eight per cent year-on-year, down to 1.69 million, while The Sun’s estimated loss was four per cent, or 300,000 readers, down to 7.7million.

In the Sunday market The People’s estimated 12 per cent drop to 1.69 million mirrored its circulation decline, while The Independent on Sunday’s recent re-launch helped it to 838,000, a gain of seven per cent year-on-year.

The Daily Star Sunday’s 26 per cent circulation rise was reflected in its NRS estimate of 1.02 million, a nine per cent increase.

In the fiercely competitive London free newspaper market News International’s thelondonpaper, with an estimated 713,000 readers per day between January and July this year, lost out marginally to Associated’s London Lite, which had an estimated readership of 745,000. This was despite the fact that London Lite distributes around 100,000 fewer copies a day than its rival.

Both titles, which feature in the survey for the first time, sought to interpret the figures differently.

Steve Auckland, managing director of free newspapers at Associated said: ‘We are very pleased with the NRS readership estimates and profile data. Many agencies have wanted industry-recognised data for both titles and now they finally have it.’

Meanwhile, thelondonpaper questioned the survey’s validity, pointing out that NRS interviewed ‘only 231 readers of thelondonpaper”. General manager Ian Clark said: ‘During this period, over 60 million copies of thelondonpaper were distributed. The NRS continues to address this issue and is committed to improving its methodology in London.

‘Media buyers will understand that the NRS figures are based on a claimed readership and are subject to wide variation.”

The Evening Standard, in contrast to its paid-for print sales, was stable with an unchanged estimate year-on-year of 773,000 readers.

A spokeswoman for the paper said: ‘These figures prove that the circulation and audience of the paper has stabilised and readership is on the increase.”

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