Newspapers Decline and Rise

Whatever your views are about News of the World, it still had some of the best headlines to wake up to on a Sunday morning. Its last edition sold more than 3 million copies. Now its competitors are keen to pick up on those readers capitalising on its closure.

In the short term, the Sunday Mirror has printed an additional million copies. But for the long term, there are rumours the Daily Mail could be launching a new Sunday title and that The Sun could also be printing a Sunday edition. But with public perception of some newspapers at rock bottom will they sell? 

Over the last 30 years UK newspaper sales have steadily dropped. In 1987 circulation of 
all newspaper sales was at 15.8 million. In the year 2000 that dipped to 15.3 million. But for 2011 circulation of newspapers including News of the World saw a substantial drop and newspaper sales contracted as the industry struggled to achieve circulation above a dismal 9.3 million. Such decline in sales has worried many of the dire consequences that they may face if this pattern continues.

The rise in technology coincides with the plunge of newspaper sales. Many newspaper 
organizations have attempted to counter this by boosting their online websites, setting up editors’ blog sites, and making the most of social media networks. Others have made a change from daily to seven day publications in order to save on staff costs and some have even gone so far as to make their newspapers free. However, with the immediacy of breaking news being made available on automatic alerts downloaded to mobile phones, the future of print media appears depressing.

The closure of the News of the World, which held a profitable venture, has led to many 
commentators questioning if the newspaper industry has a viable future. But many titles are hoping to capitalise on the iconic News of the World’s closure grabbing a larger circulation base and market share.

So just what was the result? 

The Sunday Mirror and Daily Star Sunday have benefitted most from the demise of the 
News of the World. There was no visible editorial indication that the Mail on Sunday tried to shift a few degrees down market to attract readers who previously read the News of the World.

MediaTel have concluded a sales estimate for last Sunday, with market share 
movements based on the average audited sale for June.

Last month The Mail on Sunday on average held 1,927,791 readers. Following the 
closure of News of the World it increased its readership to 2,600,000, a rise of 34.9 percent additional readers.

The Sunday Mirror held a staggering of 74.7 per cent variance between their June and 
July sales, which calculates 812,204 new readers.

But it was the Star on Sunday that took the spot light. Before the closure of the 
newspaper the Star was left behind in the market share, but it seems it has more than doubled its Sunday profits. With a previous circulation of 305,978, on the 17th of July it celebrated an increase to 1,000,000. The Sunday Mirror climbed second place, standing behind the Daily Star.

As for the Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph, and Independent on Sunday, they may have
had a small increase in their readership figures, but it remained minimal and far from as hard hitting as the tabloids.

However, these figures do not offer a stable reflection of how the market will be in the 
coming year. They are based on an estimation that has had many variables impacting given the current news climate. 

Given that it has only been several Sunday’s since the 168-­‐year-­‐old News of the World 
has been missing from newspaper stands, it is likely to take some time before its former readers and the newspaper market itself settles into a new Sunday routine.

Nada Issa

Interact UK: Star House, 104-108 Grafton Road, Kentish Town, London. NW5 4BA. Email:
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