National newspaper sales are eroded as web audience grows

The Financial Times was the only newspaper to buck the downward trend helped by the marketing drive for its ‘refresh’in late April.

The FT was up 0.36 per cent year on year to 452,767. As a direct result of its growing overseas distribution, the FT put on sales for five consecutive months prior to April, a rise of 28,053 copies since November 2006.

The Daily Telegraph was down just 0.66 per cent, but stripping out the 23,000 copies in categories such as multiple copies on trains would leave the title down 3.31 per cent.

The rest of the quality sector was down which could reflect format changes this time last year.

Associated Newspaper’s London Lite continues to canabalise sister title the Evening Standard, which was down 20 per cent to 273,537.

Its sales were the second-worst hit this month behind the Sunday Sport, down 22.65 per cent, a minor improvement on April’s 22.69 per cent decline.

The Daily Star continues to stabilise its decline with a price promotion, losing just 0.97 per cent to 778,249. Last year it was shedding 10 per cent year-on-year sales each month. It was the only title to put on sales in April.

The Sunday popular market was the worst hit sector in terms of sales, down 7.2 per cent.

The People was down 12.65 per cent compared to last month’s 14.4 per cent dip

Sunday’s mid-market sector improved by 9.08 per cent overall, yet the daily mid-market sector saw a decline of 5.4 per cent.

London Lite posted 400,229, up 483 on the previous month, while the thelondonpaper was down 4,772 month on month to 486,615. Both papers were at the centre of controversy over accusations their distributors had been dumping copies.

City AM broke through the 100,000 distribution barrier for the second month running, reaching a record figure of 100,672.

In what has been a politically charged month, not least with Tony Blair preparing to leave office, the redtop dailies showed a level of improvement, down 3.85 per cent compared to a 5.2 per cent decline in 2006 from 2005.

While the nationals’ print circulations continue their long-term erosion, their online audiences continue to grow steadily. Only four national newspapers’ websites regularly publish their ABCe-audited figures for the now-standard measure of monthly unique users.

The ABCe figures for May will be released on 28 June. The mostrecently available figures show Guardian Unlimited with 15.1 million unique users in April, trailed by Times Online with 8.9 million uniques, The Sun Online with 8.2 million uniques and with just under 7.4 million unique users.

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