Scottish Sun and Record in war of words ahead of ABCs

By Hamish Mackay

Conflicting circulation claims were emerging from both camps in the bitter circulation war raging between the Scottish Daily Record and the Scottish Sun.

At News Group Newspapers’

Glasgow HQ the word was that the Scottish Sun had closed the gap on the Daily Record from an average of around 57,000 copies in January to just 1,000 copies on the past two Mondays.

Based on these estimated figures, the two papers were selling 395,000 and 394,000 respectively – with the gap widening to 15,000 on Tuesdays and 49,000 on Wednesdays.

These unofficial estimated Monday figures, to which neither camp was giving official credence, followed extensive TV advertising and other promotions by the News Group red-top.

The official ABC figures for March are released next week.

The Scottish Sun is now selling at 10p across Scotland – after its third price cut in 14 months – while the Daily Record is retailing at 15p when day’s paper. There has been evidence of double-buying, with readers picking up Scotland’s two top-selling tabloids for a bargain price of 25p.

The Scottish Sun has an emblazoned double-decker battle bus touring Scotland, which has been used to stage several promotions immediately outside the Record’s HQ.

Mark Hollinshead, managing director of the Daily Record and Sunday Mail, dismisses speculation that the Record is in danger of losing its long-held position as the best-selling daily newspaper in Scotland. He told the Sunday Herald: “We are not going to talk about sales yet. We will wait until the March ABC figures come out. The Sun doesn’t have a sustainable sale as a full-priced newspaper in Scotland, therefore they have to revert to discounting.”

In the other battle camp, Colin McLatchie, managing director of News International in Scotland and Ireland, said: “We are very pleased with the results so far, and they are helping us to get even closer [to the Record].” He revealed in the Press Gazette last week that “this, bluntly, is the final push”.

Record editor Bruce Waddell knows all about the opposition’s deep war chest as he formerly edited the Scottish Sun.

His opposite number, David Dinsmore, is still finding his feet after being drafted north from Sun HQ in London where he was night editor. However, he knows the battlefield well as he served part of his Sun apprenticeship as a reporter in Glasgow.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Sun has had an official rap from ABC for quoting contentious circulation figures in an advertisement in Scottish trade magazine The Drum.

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