Prince album giveaway helps Mail on Sunday top the chart

Gordon Brown’s ascension to Number 10 and nationwide flooding ensured that July was an unusually busy month for news – and there appeared to be a corresponding boost in national newspaper sales.

Six titles put on sales year on year, with the biggest rise going to the Mail on Sunday, courtesy of its giveaway of a new album recorded by Prince.

Industry estimates suggest it added an extra 640,000 copies to sales in week two of the month, at an estimated cost well in excess of £1m – including a reported £250,000 for Prince.

The Daily Mail was also up year on year this month, helped by a free DVD of documentary series The World at War followed by a voucher giveaway, redeemable at shops, for the other 25 episodes.

Two months after the Independent on Sunday relaunched as ‘one big newspaper and one big magazine’sales are below pre-relaunch levels – although slightly up year on year if you look at the headline ABC.

When extra foreign sales and bulks are taken out of the picture, it was down 8,624 copies, or 3.89 per cent.

The Daily Star and Daily Star Sunday were the only papers to put on sales year on year without major marketing spending, suggesting that journalists on those papers must be getting the editorial mix right for their readers.

The other national title to put on sales, the Financial Times, was helped by sales increases across its global editions.

The biggest fallers were The Sunday Times and The People.

The People seems to be losing out due to reduced promotional spend compared with its rivals, while The Sunday Times is feeling the effect of its price rise to £2.

The rate of decline for the Evening Standard remained more or less level, and the real test of whether it has a long-term future will come next month, after the anniversary of the launch of the free dailies, when the year-on-year comparisons should level out.

When free bulk copies are taken out of the picture, the Standard fell by 23.5 per cent year on year in July.

Distribution of the two London free evening papers remained stable with thelondonpaper at 495,926 and London Lite at 398,351.

Overall, the total sale of national dailies fell by 2.27 per cent to 11,774,993 and the average sale of Sunday titles fell by 3.8 per cent to 12,497,270.

ABCe figures for July will be released later this month.

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