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Sharp circulation falls

Pandemic takes toll on newspaper sales


All titles have seen falls (pic: Terry Murden)

National newspaper suffered hefty double-digit falls in circulation as the pandemic accelerated a general decline in print sales.

The Financial Times was the biggest loser, down 42% year-on-year as it suffered from the absence of commuters and office workers, according to figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

The i newspaper, which was sold this year by The Scotsman’s owner to Daily Mail & General Trust, is down by a third.

They are the only papers audited by ABC that include large numbers of bulk copies, which are sold to venues, such as hotels and airport lounges, at a discounted rate.

Free papers Metro and the Evening Standard in London also suffered badly from the home working switch.

Most national newspapers saw year-on-year decline of about a fifth.

In Scotland the Sunday Post saw circulation plummet 22%, while the Daily Record and Sunday Mail both lost 18% of sales.

ABC no longer audits The Times, Sun and Telegraph titles.

The Times and Sunday Times issues statistics provided by Publishers Audience Measurement Company (Pamco) which said the titles have a “reach” (readership) of 1.3m in Scotland across print and digital, a rise of 72% on last year (74% across UK).

The Telegraph said it has 511,837 subscribers across the UK of which 309,889 were digital and 201,948 print.

National newspaper brands lost 3m daily digital readers in the second quarter of 2020 after interest in Covid-19 news spiked in March.

However, combined print and digital audiences still continued to grow at a rate of 20% year-on-year.

The latest Pamco data shows 22m people were reading national news online every day in June, up 3.7m compared to the same period in 2019.

The titles with the biggest digital drops between March and June were The Scotsman (-32%) and Metro (-27%), though The Scotsman is up 36% year on year.

National print circulations in August 2020 (ABC)

PublicationABC circulation for August 2020Month-on-month % changeYear-on-year % changeBulks
Daily Mail994,081-1%-15%
Mail on Sunday872,375-1%-11%
Evening Standard (FREE)514,0402%-37%
Metro (FREE)504,22636%-64%
Daily Mirror388,7180%-19%
Sunday Mirror316,962-1%-20%
Daily Express251,7360%-18%
Daily Star237,2660%-22%
Sunday Express221,385-1%-17%
Daily Star Sunday141,011-3%-22%
The Observer139,8510%-10%
Sunday People125,2160%-17%
The Guardian109,533-1%-15%
Financial Times94,3959%-42%20,514
Sunday Mail92,349-1%-18%
Daily Record91,5561%-18%
Sunday Post73,5470%-22%500

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