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January 17, 2022updated 30 Sep 2022 10:55am

Top UK newsbrands: Sun best for reach, but Mail has most engagement

By Aisha Majid

The Murdoch-owned Sun and Rothermere-owned Mail both claim to be the biggest newsbrand in the UK, citing the latest Pamco industry audience data.

The Sun is once again the news brand with the biggest overall UK reach, according to the latest quarterly audience data release from Pamco (The Publishers Audience Measurement Company).

Taking into account total monthly reach across all platforms and print, the News UK brand reached 28.2m UK adults per month, 18.9m per week and 7.1m daily according to Pamco.

This places it ahead of the Mail titles by 2.1m people each month and ahead of the Mirror titles by 2.5m, said the Sun.

The data covers the period October 2019 – September 2021 for print and Ipsos iris’ September 2021 digital data. Pamco uses audience interviews to estimate print readership.

Read Press Gazette’s top 50 news rankings:

The Sun’s digital reach alone, it told Press Gazette, was 24.7m people each month. It said the Pamco numbers, which are no longer released to the media, show its print titles reached 6.4m readers – more than any other paid-for newspaper.  

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But the Mail’s version of the data, in which it excludes Apple News (to which the Mail does not provide content) and non-news brands, puts the Mail in the top spot. On this view, the Mail reached 6.1m daily users –  compared to The Sun’s 5.8m.

Nevertheless, The Mail said that engagement and time spent with a brand are, in its view, more important metrics.

In October, a Mail spokesperson commenting on the previous Pamco release told Press Gazette: “Overall reach is just about the most meaningless metric there is. What is important is the depth of that reach.”

According to the latest Pamco data, British audiences spent 5.2bn minutes with the Mail (across print and digital), compared to 3bn with the Sun and 1.5bn with the Mirror. 

Page views for the Mail were also significantly higher with the Mail recording 1.7bn page views compared to 0.71bn for the Sun. Closest competitor The Guardian racked up 1.3bn page views. 

When it comes to publisher audience Reach, which counts the Daily Mirror and Daily Express in its stable of titles, topped the list. Reach publications, including its “big city” regional titles such as Manchester Evening News and Liverpool Echo, were read by 38.5m UK adults monthly across print, desktop and mobile. When the major regional titles are excluded the publisher reached 33.3m readers. Mail Metro Media reached 33.9m people and News UK 32.7m. 

Mail Metro Media had the largest print audience of the publishers - reaching 11.9m people per month, compared to 8.7m for Reach and its major regionals. 

Overall, Pamco’s data found that magazine or newsbrand content reaches 48.9m people aged over 15 each month, 44.6m each week and 29.7m each day. 

Newspapers and their websites reached 46.9m people each month, 41.7m each week and 27m daily. Magazines were read by 38.7m people each month, 26.3m each week and 8.6m each day. 

The findings combine print data with online data from Ipsos iris which  replaced Comscore as the official industry online audience data provider last year. 

The data covers the period October 2019 – September 2021 for print and Ipsos iris’ September 2021 digital data. Figures collected through the company’s pre-Covid face-to-face methodology are blended with online data collection methods introduced with Covid. 

Pamco is currently making brand level data available to paying subscribers only due to the different methodologies and has said current data should be considered "bridge" data until the company adopts a fully online methodology as of June 2022.

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