War and terror in August fail to attract extra readers

The war in Lebanon, the alleged airport terror plot and the Tommy Sheridan libel trial ensured August was anything but the normal "silly season" for news.

But the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations figures reveal that the national press in general failed to capitalise — with most titles significantly down compared with August 2005.

Among the few circulation winners was the Scottish Sun which, helped by price cutting, lengthened the lead it took in July on the Daily Record. In August it sold 407,294 compared with the Record's Scotland-only sale of 392,844.

The short-term picture was more promising — with most titles reporting month-on-month growth, a considerable achievement considering that August — like December — is usually a poor month for newspaper sales.

Yet again, The Guardian was near the top of Press Gazette's unique league table of paid-for circulation growth, which excludes bulk giveaways from the equation. But its real test will come when September's figures are posted and the paper will be competing yearon- year with the Berliner-size relaunch.

Likewise, The Independent on Sunday is still feeling the benefits of competing with an August 2005 figure which predates its tabloid relaunch.

The Evening Standard was one paper to do particularly well out of the alleged airport terror plot — with Heathrow falling within its circulation area, and Londoners no doubt reminded of the 7 July 2005 bombings.

Its headline sales figure of 313,181 was down a respectable 1.03 per cent year on year and up an unheard of 4.05 per cent month on month. When an increase in the number of bulk giveaway copies is taken into account, paidfor sales were down a more worrying 5.6 per cent year on year. But the improvement Likewise, The Independent on Sunday is still feeling the benefits of competing with an August 2005 figure which predates its tabloid relaunch.

The Evening Standard was one paper to do particularly well out of the alleged airport terror plot — with Heathrow falling within its circulation area, and Londoners no doubt reminded of the 7 July 2005 bombings.

Its headline sales figure of 313,181 was down a respectable 1.03 per cent year on year and up an unheard of 4.05 per cent month on month. When an increase in the number of bulk giveaway copies is taken into account, paidfor sales were down a more worrying 5.6 per cent year on year. But the improvement was still enough to move the paper eight places up the Press Gazette table compared with July.

Standard editor Veronica Wadley said: "With big breaking stories, Londoners turn to the Evening Standard — in August that was the bomb plot, and the latest ABC figures testify to this. The paper sets the news agenda for the capital and speaks out for Londoners."

The Daily Mail shored up its sale with 43,000 copies added by the new Republic of Ireland edition — without that the marginal 0.31 per cent year-on-year decline would be more like two per cent.

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