Cover price cut helps Sun to increased circulation

The Sun’s 20p targeted price cut in London and the South East appears to done the trick in November.

It was one of three UK national dailies to put on paid-for sales last month, up fractionally by 0.18 per cent year-on-year to just above the three-million mark.

The huge impact of the cover price promotion is illustrated by the fact that in November 2006 The Sun had 307,504 discounted sales in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Last month that figure went up to 661,725.

The Evening Standard’s headline ABC figure grew by 7.17 per cent year-on-year to 291,991. But a huge increase in free bulk give-away copies meant that the actual paid-for sale was down 12.6 per cent year-on-year to 196,899 in the face of competition from the two London evening frees.

Distribution of these two frees remained static in November, at 495,650 for News International’s thelondonpaper and 400,513 for Associated Newspapers’ London Lite.

Distribution of UK-wide free morning title Metro stood at 1,358,270 in November, after big boosts in September and October.

The red tops, like most other national newspaper sectors, had a better performance in November than a year ago. Daily red tops were down 0.96 per year on year last month, compared to being 4.96 per cent down a year before, and Sunday red tops were down 2.52 per cent last month, compared to 8.73 per cent a year before.

Circulation of all national newspapers, as audited by ABC, dropped 2.22 per cent year on year last month, compared to 3.43 per cent a year before, suggesting that perhaps the pace of print decline is flattening out.

But while the overall picture is a more encouraging one, certain titles continue to flag dangerously, such as The People, which was down 10.55 per cent year-on-year in November to 683,802. News of editor Mark Thomas’s sudden departure from the title came on 20 November; a successor has yet to be appointed.

The Daily Mail’s 1.41 per cent November sales boost was helped by the series of children’s classics and Great War DVD give-aways.

The FT’s 2.75 per cent sales increase was achieved despite keeping bulk give-aways roughly flat, at 36,418, and was helped by a slight increase in UK sales from 130,775 to 137,315.

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