Just two nationals put on paid-for sales in November

And then were two — just two national newspapers that is, which managed to put on paid-for sales year-on-year in November.

The Observer sold an extra 11,000 copies compared with a year ago, helped by three TV promotions for the monthly Woman, Music and Food supplements. It has to be good news for journalists that this month's top performer in Press Gazette's unique league table of paid for circulation growth (excluding bulks)

apparently achieved its position with editorial supplements rather than DVD giveaways.

The other top performer was the Mail on Sunday — which achieved its yearon- year growth mainly due to the fact that Ireland on Sunday was merged with the Mail on Sunday Irish edition in September to add 102,318 copies.

The MoS also continues to spend heavily on DVDs — in November it gave away a Mrs Santa Claus DVD and two Madness CDs, backed by TV advertising.

Elsewhere across the national press, November has to go down as the worst year-on-year sales performance of the year so far.

The News of the World dropped over 300,000 copies alone as it has appeared to cut back on CD and DVD promotional spending. A free Bond DVD evidently wasn't a huge hit.

The Sun's comparatively respectable 3.75 per cent year-on-year was helped by a price drop to 20p in the Northwest.

In the London free newspaper war, News International's acquisition of the rights to distribute inside mainline train stations appears to be paying dividends.

Under the terms of the deal, NI is allowed to distribute thelondonpaper in the Metro distribution racks — but instead it is opting just to place its distributors inside the stations.

In November, thelondonpaper distributed an average of 425,508 a day — well ahead of its original 400,000 target — via 505 distribution points.

Associated Newspapers distributed 395,048 via 536 distributors.

Thelondonpaper is also carrying marginally more advertising than London Lite, with the equivalent of eight ad pages per issue compared with 7.68.

The flipside of the London free paper battle is an ever steeper sales decline for the Evening Standard.

Its headline ABC figure dropped by 21.37 per cent. The more alarming 30.2 per cent drop recorded in the Press Gazette paid-for sales graph reflects the fact that the Standard gave away 53,879 bulk copies last month compared with a bulk figure of 33,161 the same time a year before.

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