Year-end ABCs show increases for only six nationals

Only six national newspapers sold more copies in the second half of 2003 compared with the previous year.

The Business, Daily Star, Daily Mail, The Independent, Mail on Sunday and Scotland on Sunday were all up year-on-year.

The biggest increase came at The Business, following its new distribution deal with The Mail on Sunday.

The Daily Star was up a whopping 18 per cent, in contrast to its redtop rivals, with the Daily Mirror down 7.8 per cent and The Sun down 4.5 per cent.

The Independent’s bold move to launch a tabloid version in October proved a winner. It was the only quality daily to report a year-on-year rise.

The Times was down 7.9 per cent year-on-year, but the launch of its “compact” version at the end of November boosted sales. It showed a monthly rise in December of 2.3 per cent, while the compactless Guardian dropped 2.9 per cent on November.

The Daily Mail and MoS bucked the downward trend. Both titles were up on 2002, albeit by small percentage points. Apart from The Business, SoS was the only quality Sunday to show a year-on-year rise.

The popular Sunday market was up on 2002 by 2 per cent. This was due to the impact of the Daily Star Sunday, which is now averaging sales of 529,573.

The worst performing sector was the daily quality market, down by more than 5 per cent year-on-year.

This was partly due to the decision by The Daily Telegraph to cut out bulks and the ending of the price war.

Any turnaround will depend on the long-term success of the innovation of the year, the compacts.

By Jon Slattery

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