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June 19, 2020updated 30 Sep 2022 9:24am

ABCs: National newspapers show signs of recovery from Covid-19 circulation slump

By Charlotte Tobitt

Most UK national newspapers began to recover in May after their circulations were hit hard by the first five weeks of Covid-19 lockdown.

The Financial Times was the only paid-for publication (of those who still opt into public ABC reporting) that saw its circulation continue to fall, dropping by 11% month-on-month.

The free Metro, which has continued printing a smaller run for key workers commuting throughout lockdown, reduced its distribution by a further 20% since April to 317,580.

By contrast the Evening Standard increased its run by 7% to 454,056.

The Observer saw the greatest boost in May, growing 10% month-on-month to a circulation of 142,212. The Mail on Sunday saw growth of 5% to 878,467.

As of last month, UK national newspapers no longer have to make their print circulations public through ABC. News UK’s Sun and Times titles have already opted to keep theirs private.

ABC also ended its monthly circulation reports.

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The Telegraph, which pulled out of ABC earlier this year, is focusing instead on subscriber figures. It reached 500,000 subscribers in the last week of May.

National newsbrand circulations in May 2020 (ABC):

Publication ABC circulation for May 2020 ABC circulation for April 2020 (from start of lockdown) and month-on-month % change ABC circulation for May 2019 and year-on-year % change
Daily Mail 979,836 944,981 (4%) 1,181,023 (-17%)
Mail on Sunday 878,467 836,743 (5%) 984,582 (-11%)
Evening Standard (FREE) 454,056 423,285 (7%) 857,070 (-47%)
Daily Mirror 371,902 363,082 (2%) 494,836 (-25%)
Metro (FREE) 317,580 398,787 (-20%) 1,425,996 (-78%)
Sunday Mirror 317,420 303,747 (5%) 406,326 (-22%)
Daily Express 241,383 234,373 (3%) 308,581 (-22%)
Sunday Express 224,972 217,915 (3%) 266,702 (-16%)
Daily Star 223,727 219,275 (2%) 313,743 (-29%)
Daily Star Sunday 147,357 144,251 (2%) 184,299 (-20%)
The Observer 142,212 129,415 (10%) 158,426 (-10%)
i 137,235 134,553 (2%) 229,791 (-40%)
Sunday People 124,091 118,026 (5%) 154,524 (-20%)
The Guardian 110,538 106,003 (4%) 132,793 (-17%)
Financial Times 79,038 88,756 (-11%) 169,119 (-53%)
Sunday Post 74,609 73,959 (1%) 96,717 (-23%)

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