Star shines brightest in Sunday market while Times takes a hit

A year after the launch of London’s two free evening newspapers, the Evening Standard has suffered a dramatic reduction in its paid-for sale.

Its headline ABC in August was down 11.38 per cent year on year – but up 0.86 per cent month on month to 277,555. That hides a big increase in bulk giveaway copies, from 44,726 to 95,111. That means the Standard’s paid-for sale has dropped 32 per cent year on year since the free paper onslaught began.

Distribution of thelondonpaper and London Lite remains steady at 496,210 and 406,298 respectively.

Among the national dailies, only the Financial Times managed a year-on-year rise – up 2.5 per cent to 426,830.

The Guardian, down 1.96 per cent to 355,750, is only just above its pre-Berliner relaunch sale in August 2005, and it could face an even tougher time this month after a price rise on Monday to 80p made it the most expensive national daily apart from the FT.

The Times is also now below the sales levels it reached before going tabloid three years ago – down 5.36 per cent year on year to 638,820.

Still ahead on its old broadsheet figures is The Independent – on 239,834, compared with a sale of around 220,000 before the switch to tabloid. But the paper still suffered a severe year-on-year drop of 5.89 per cent to 239,834.

The Daily Telegraph’s 1.18 per cent year-on-year sales drop increases to a drop of 3.55 per cent when extra foreign sales and bulks are taken out of the picture.

The big circulation winner of August was the Daily Star Sunday – which celebrated its fifth birthday by growing 26 per cent year on year to 533,248. It was helped by four free CD giveaways in a row: Soul, Elvis, the Happy Mondays, and Echo and the Bunnymen.

The big loser in August was The Sunday Times – down 12.15 per cent year on year, and apparently still suffering the effects of the price rise to £2 last year. The decline was worsened by a 14,000 reduction in foreign sales and bulks, and by the fact there was only one TV-supported promotion this year compared with three in the same period last year.

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