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May 17, 2018updated 18 May 2018 10:35am

National newspaper ABCs: Daily Telegraph decision to stop selling bulks sees circulation fall by nearly a fifth year-on-year

By Freddy Mayhew

The Daily Telegraph’s decision to stop multiple copy sales, also known as bulk sales or “bulks”, has resulted in its circulation dropping by nearly one fifth year-on-year.

The daily newspaper recorded the biggest print circulation decline among its competitors in April, falling by 19 per cent compared with the same period the year before to 377,159 copies, according to ABC figures.

The Telegraph last distributed bulks – which are the free-to-take copies typically found at airports, hotels and other venues that the publisher sells at a heavily reduced rate – in November 2017.

Scroll down for ABC print and web totals for April 2018

That month it sold about 67,000 bulks, giving the paper a total circulation of 458,487. The following month, when bulks are no longer counted, that figure drops to 393,310.

If we were to hypothetically reintroduce bulk sales of 67,000 into the Telegraph’s April 2018 circulation figures, the paper would have a total print circulation of 444,159 and be down 5 per cent year-on-year.

As a result of its decision to stop selling bulks, the Telegraph was overtaken by the Times in December last year in headline circulation figures. The Times continue to sell nearly 91,000 bulks.

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According to the latest ABC figures, last month saw a number of other titles experience double-digit circulation decline.

The Daily Mail was down 11 per cent year-on-year to 1.29m. Britain’s top-selling mid-market newspaper also opted to stop selling bulks from January this year. It sold 58,700 bulks in December 2017.

Again, hypothetically reintroducing December’s bulk sales to last month’s circulation figures for the Mail shows it has fallen by 7 per cent year-on-year in real terms.

Among paid-for newsbrands, the Times fared best with a year-on-year circulation dip of 3 per cent. Only free newspaper City AM recorded growth at 1 per cent year-on-year to 91,215 copies.

UK national newspaper print circulation figures for April 2018 (source: ABC):

Publication Total circulation April 2018 Year-on-Year % change Bulks
The Sun 1,496,558 -7.46 118,149
Metro FREE 1,475,870 -0.29
Daily Mail 1,288,889 -11.36
The Sun on Sunday 1,253,305 -7.73 118,241
The Mail on Sunday 1,071,323 -13.5
London Evening Standard FREE 873,398 -0.56
The Sunday Times 734,315 -5.83 84,520
Daily Mirror 567,442 -17.4
Sunday Mirror 482,844 -17.47
The Times 433,604 -2.72 90,978
Daily Star 384,393 -12.23
The Daily Telegraph 377,159 -19.34
Daily Express 346,307 -10.35
Sunday Express 299,063 -10.84
The Sunday Telegraph 291,896 -17.73
The i 252,192 -4.41 59,456
Daily Star – Sunday 226,548 -10.39
Sunday People 188,911 -17.15
Financial Times 183,140 -7.05 29,185
The Observer 169,889 -6.39
The Guardian 142,318 -7.59
Sunday Mail 135,329 -15.36
Daily Record 130,488 -12.95
Sunday Post 118,417 -14.52 538
City AM FREE 91,215 0.73

UK news websites daily average unique browsers (source: ABC):

Website Daily Avg. Unique Browsers (April 2018) Year-on-year % change
Mail Online 12,624,393 -16.49
Trinity Mirror Group – Digital 7,836,569 -11.76
The Sun 5,364,187 14.11
Metro 2,066,807 22.94

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