The Telegraph’s blockbuster revelations about MPs expenses didn’t stop it losing circulation year-on-year in May.
Despite dominating the news agenda throughout the second half of the audit period with more than a dozen back-to-back splashes detailing the excesses of MPs’ expenses spending – the Daily Telegraph’s average daily sale fell from 862,966 in May 2008 to 836,410 last month.
In relative terms it was, however, the top performing national quality daily newspaper. Compared with April, sales were up by an average of 2.3 per cent a day.
The Telegraph began its series of in-depth revelations about the expenses claims of MPs on 8 May and continued throughout the rest of the month.
The Sunday Telegraph was down 2.6 per cent year-on-year but up 4.8 per cent month on month to an average circulation of 619,182 copies.
The ABC audit period for May ended on 24 May. The Telegraph has said that according to its internal figures – the MPs’ expenses scoop has put on one million extra copies to date for both titles
That one million copy increase relates to the Telegraph’s own estimates for what it would have expected to sell in the same period, a spokeswoman told Press Gazette.
Telegraph Media Group chief executive Murdoch MacLennan said: “Will Lewis and his team have done a brilliant job with the MPs’ expenses scoop. It just shows what a great news story and good journalism can do for newspaper sales.”
The Daily Star continued to put on sales thanks largely to dropping the price to 20p. It was up 15.8 per cent year on year to 840,701 copies.
On 18 May The Sun dropped its cover price in London to 20p. Its overall sale for May was down 5.2 per cent year on year to 2,984,103.
At the other end of the scale, the two most expensive daily titles saw big year-on-year drops.
The Independent (£1 a copy) dropped 15 per cent to 204,413 and the Financial Times (£2 a copy) fell 8.8 per cent to 410,928.
Standard claims month-on-month lift thanks to relaunch
Despite a relaunch on 11 May, the London Evening Standard’s headline ABC figure dropped 29.78 per cent year-on-year to 210,901.
But the Standard has stripped out many of its free give away copies.
In May 2008 it gave away 115,210 copies a day. Last month the bulks figure dropped to 70,371.
According to the Standard, the May ABC figure was dented by the fact that the relaunch day, when 850,000 copies of the Standard were given away, was “zero rated” by ABC.
According to the Standard – in the period following the paper’s relaunch, paid-for sales have been up 4.5 per cent month-on-month.
Evening Standard managing director Andrew Mullins said: “Turning around the year on year paid-for sale decline will not be a simple overnight challenge. However, these early signs of stabilisation are encouraging and our strategy of focusing more closely on Zone One (up 6.5 per cent month on month in Zone One) appears to be bearing fruit.”
Full national newspaper ABC results for May 2009 (with year-on-year comparison)
Daily Mirror: 1,325,237, down 10.7 per cent
Daily Record: 350,574, down 12.4 per cent
Daily Star: 840,701, up 15.8 per cent
The Sun: 2,984,103, down 5.2 per cent
Daily Express: 719,703, down 2.8 per cent
Daily Mail: 2,196,483, down 4.2 per cent
The Daily Telegraph: 836,410, down 3,1 per cent
Financial Times: 410,928, down 8.8 per cent
The Herald: 58,576, down 12.6 per cent
The Guardian: 335,615, down 5.2 per cent
The Independent: 204,413, down 15 per cent
The Scotsman: 48,164, down 9.2 per cent
The Times: 591,137, down 5.6 per cent
Racing Post: 63,733, down 5.6 per cent
London Evening Standard: 210,901, down 29.8 per cent
Daily Star Sunday: 359,723, down 1.85 per cent
News of the World: 2,924,137, down 6.8 per cent
Sunday Mail: 426,576, down 12.5 per cent
Sunday Mirror: 1,220,410, down 9 per cent
The People: 583,258, down 9.8 per cent
Sunday Express: 636,080, down 3.3 per cent
Sunday Post: 357,657, down 11 per cent
The Mail on Sunday: 2,065,415, down 7.7 per cent
Independent on Sunday: 167,456, down 16.7 per cent
The Observer: 405,516, down 10.6 per cent
Scotland on Sunday: 62,044, down 9.9 per cent
Sunday Herald: 38,717, down 18.5 per cent
The Sunday Telegraph: 619,182, down 2.6 per cent
The Sunday Times: 1,194,485, up 0.65 per cent