Last month we reported that over the summer, readers had turned to popular titles (e.g. The Sun) for their daily dose of news, leaving quality reads such as the Guardian and the Independent, hanging on the shelves. However, as you’ll see in this data report, the tables turned in September.
 
The UK’s two leading newsbrands, The Sun (reaching over 1.9 million readers) and the Daily Mail (reaching nearly 1.6 million) continued to battle it out across the month. The Sun, whose audience steadily grew throughout the summer, reported a decline in reach of 4.2%, whilst the Daily Mail saw growth of 0.8%. The category specific trend was noted across the board with all popular titles reporting smaller circulation figures in September 2014 relative to August 2014.
 
Quality papers generally outperformed the popular and mid-market reads, with 6 of the 10 titles reporting improved figures across the month. The Financial Times, having endured a turbulent 12 months, saw the greatest increase in circulation (+3.3%) with the Guardian (+1.6%) and the Independent (+0.9%) too reporting growth. The Times was unique in enjoying an increase in circulation both across the month (+0.8%), and year-on-year (+1.5%). The combined monthly figures resulted in a 0.14% circulation growth for quality papers.
 
Popular newspapers that performed relatively well across August, including the Daily Record, the Daily Star and the Daily Express struggled to maintain momentum in September reporting circulation drops of 14.5%, 14.2% and 10.8% respectively.
 
Analysing these figures month in, month out, it’s easy to get hung up on details of the ever-fluctuating circulation figures recorded by British newspapers (especially for a number enthusiast like myself). However, ultimately, it’s important not to lose sight of the general trends. Whilst it’s impossible to ignore that year-on-year comparisons suggest print journalism to be a slowing industry, for every paper that loses out one month, there is another picking up a portion of its readers.
 
How does this impact brands wanting to connect with their audience through print advertising? It takes an analytical and experienced eye (partnered with an obscene amount of research) to identify the publications that are going to bring in the biggest audiences when your brand requires them most, and target the readers you’re interested in most. For a bit of guidance, do get in touch.