ABCs show that it pays to shrink your broadsheet

The latest round of national ABCs make a compelling case for the shrinking of broadsheets, writes Dominic Ponsford.

New “compact” papers were the only national dailies to record yearonyear rises for August.

The Independent’s sales appear to have levelled off, creeping up just 500 copies month-on-month. But sales of the compact Indy are an impressive 20.8 per cent up on the broadsheet of this time last year.

The Times was similarly level month-on-month but a healthy 2.9 per cent up year-on-year. Unlike The Independent, under editor Simon Kelner, it has been unable to convert all its readers over to the tabloid and a stubborn 295,849 out of 654,085 buyers remain devoted to the broadsheet.

Going tabloid midway though the month has already given The Scotsman a much-needed shot in the arm, boosting it 11.4 per cent month-on-month – but putting it only 0.2 per cent up on the sale of August 2003.

Month-on-month the Mirror’s sales have been more or less steady since editor Richard Wallace took over. But at nine per cent, it still has the most severe year-on-year decline of any national, closely followed by Trinity Mirror stablemate The People, down 8.4 per cent compared with August 2003.

Last week Trinity Mirror announced that 16 journalists’ jobs were being cut at The People so that more money could be spent on marketing.

This probably means more free CDs of the like which boosted sales for The Mail on Sunday last month and in August helped push the Sunday Express back above a million for the just the second time in the past year. A free double CD of Motown hits boosted it 6.76 per cent month-on-month and four per cent year-on-year.

On paper The Business is up a staggering 112.31 per cent, but this is mainly because it gives a staggering amount of copies away.

Just 24,464 out of its 218,691 circulation total are actual newsagent or subscription sales. The others are given away in hotels, on airplanes and through letter boxes of more prosperous homes.

This compares with actual sales of 30,419 in August 2003.

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