Scotland’s national newspaper titles have suffered a further huge drop in sales, according to the latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
The Sunday Herald dropped to 25,000 in the second half of the year against 32,200 in the same period in 2014. This means it has lost almost all the extra papers it sold following its high-profile support for Scottish independence.
The Scotsman is now selling as few as 14,000 copies at full price, while bulks and give-aways made up the rest of the 22,740 circulation for the second half of last year. This is down from 23,700 in the first half and 26,200 in the second half of 2014.
Scotland on Sunday has fallen to 22,060 from 24,100 in the first six months of last year and 27,500 in the second half of 2014.
The Herald’s six-month sales figure was 32,141, compared to 34,300 in the previous six months and 37,000 in the equivalent period a year earlier.
Both Johnston Press, owner of The Scotsman titles, and Newsquest, which owns The Herald, have announced redundancies in recent months.
Newspaper owners say that readership is not falling, but is switching online where more content is being consumed.
However, the Daily Mirror is about to launch a new daily paper, The New Day – which in Scotland will only be on sale initially in Edinburgh – while Johnston Press paid £24 million to buy the “i” national daily newspaper from ESI Media which is ceasing the print editions of The Independent and Independent on Sunday. Ironically, the latter was the only Sunday paper to increase its readership in the last 12 months (up 2.4% to 380,000), according to figures from the Publishers Audience Measurement Company.
The Guardian was the only daily newspaper to show an increase in print readership, up 8.8% to 814,000 in 2015.
The Sun remains the most well read daily tabloid with a monthly readership of 4.45 million for print, although that was a decrease of 16% year-on-year, while the Daily Telegraph is still the most well read quality daily newspaper in print at 1.17 million (a 2.3% year on year decline).
The Daily Express lost over a quarter of its print readers, down 28% from 1.079 million to 777,000.
Twelve more national newspapers also saw double-digit falls. The Daily Star was down 20% to 808,000 and the Daily Mirror down 19% to 1.85 million.
The biggest fallers in the Sunday print market were the Sunday Mirror (down 23.9 per cent to 1.87 million); and Trinity Mirror stablemate the Sunday People (down 23 per cent to 526,000).
Unlike figures from ABC, which track sales and distribution performance, Pamco surveys around 30,000 people to produce a national readership estimate.
Pamco’s survey also showed that 74% of adults in Britain now consume newsbrand content via a computer or handheld device. Magazine content is read by 41% of adults.
Across print, PC and mobile, the average monthly readership for all news brands is estimated to be up 5% to 47.26 million.
For magazines, digital is driving an increase in readership of 21.4% each month. This figure rises to 33.6%for news brands.
Simon Redican, the chief executive of Pamco, said: “People’s appetite for content has never been bigger. Where there is a challenge in the industry is about monetising that audience.”
He added: “Print is still powerful for uniting large numbers of people but consumer behaviour is changing, and publishers understand that they need to make their content available where the audience is.”
Daily Business recorded its best ever week last week with an average of 2,887 visitors (unique readers) per day, giving an average of 7,535 daily page views. The Independent sold 2,453 copies in Scotland, according to ABC figures in March 2015.
Award-winning personal finance writer Jeff Salway is joining the Daily Business team covering next month’s Budget.