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May 21, 2020updated 30 Sep 2022 9:19am

National newsbrand ABCs: Sales slump during UK lockdown

By Freddy Mayhew

The latest national newspaper circulation figures show print sales took a hit during the lockdown imposed by the UK Government, but the impact is not as severe as it might have been.

The Financial Times and the i paper saw the biggest decline from March (pre-lockdown) to April, although this might partly be explained by the fact that both have strong digital offerings.

Under changes brought into force by ABC from today, News UK, publisher of the Sun and Times titles, has opted to keep its circulation data private and will now only share it, in confidence, with agencies.

It is the only major news publisher to have chosen this approach so far.

The Telegraph pulled out of ABC auditing at the start of the year. City AM has suspended publication of its print edition during the lockdown and therefore is not included in the latest data release.

ABC is using what it calls “Covid-19 reporting” rules to cover circulation figures under the lockdown, which it says are atypical and therefore drawing an exact comparison with pre-crisis figures is not possible.

The figures for April include the final week of March.

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National newsbrand circulations in April 2020 (ABC):

Publication ABC total for April (from start of lockdown) ABC total for March (2-22) 2020 % change month-on-month
Metro FREE 398,787 1,326,213 -70%
The Sun Private 1,210,915
Daily Mail 944,981 1,132,908 -17%
The Sun on Sunday Private 1,013,777
The Mail on Sunday 836,743 952,914 -12%
Evening Standard FREE 423,285 700,191 -40%
The Sunday Times Private 647,622
Daily Mirror 363,082 442,610 -18%
The Times Private 365,880
Sunday Mirror 303,747 354,375 -14%
Daily Express 234,373 289,393 -19%
Daily Star 219,275 276,453 -21%
Sunday Express 217,915 252,118 -14%
i 134,553 215,640 -38%
Daily Star – Sunday 144,251 163,695 -12%
The Observer 129,415 156,174 -17%
Financial Times 88,756 146,373 -39%
Sunday People 118,026 134,931 -13%
The Guardian 106,003 129,961 -18%
Sunday Mail 91,099 104,608 -13%
Daily Record 87,551 102,906 -15%
Sunday Post 73,959 84,607 -13%

Picture: Reuters/Toby Melville 

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