Brexit boost for Fleet Street: Extra 2.7m papers sold in referendum month

 
William Turvill
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The UK voted to leave the European Union on 23 June (Source: Getty)

There has been a fair amount of doom and gloom business news reported in national newspapers over the last month.

But Fleet Street itself has emerged as one of the winners of the EU referendum – at least in the short term.

The majority of national newspapers experienced an uplift in circulation in June, according to new figures from ABC.

News Media Association analysis of the figures concluded that 2.7m more paid-for national papers were circulated in June than in May. That works out at an extra 90,000 per day.

(ABC figures in this table were compiled by the News Media Association, which did not include Sunday newspapers, the Financial Times, Daily Express and Daily Star)

In terms of month-on-month growth, the Guardian (up 3.6 per cent to 171,723), i (up three per cent to 294,223) and Times (up 2.5 per cent to 449,151) were the best performing daily newspapers.

And the Observer (up 8.4 per cent to 205,007), Daily Star Sunday (up 4.9 per cent to 336,618) and Sunday Times (up 3.7 per cent to 806,375) were the best of the Sundays.

“Readers have always turned to newspapers at times of national significance and continue to do so,” said Rufus Olins, chief executive of Newsworks, the marketing body for the national press. “The latest ABC data confirms newspapers’ continued influence throughout Brexit and beyond.”

Read more: Daily Mail publisher reports signs of ad market recovery after Brexit vote

Simon Adams, a partner at media planning and buying agency Goodstuff, said: “In uncertain times people are clearly still turning to trusted news sources and brands for clarity and understanding.

“Like it or not, the referendum has demonstrated the enduring importance and influence of a free press.”

Online

The growth of national newspaper websites in June was even greater.

Mail Online, the world’s biggest English-language newspaper website, attracted more than 15m daily average unique users – up eight per cent on May, and more than 10 per cent year on year.

Elsewhere, the Telegraph’s website recorded a 29 per cent month-on-month growth, the Guardian 16 per cent, the Sun 15 per cent and the Independent – which closed its print edition this year – was up 44 per cent.

“In a month when bias, spin and plain lies consumed the news agenda and other media outlets, the Independent’s core values shone through,” said Independent editor Christian Broughton.

“Being digital-only allows us to focus on the platforms that really count – never has the Indy been read by so many people or set the agenda with such compelling energy.”

New opportunities

Daily Mirror publisher Trinity Mirror faced the embarrassment having to close New Day less than three months after it was launched earlier this year.

Despite tough conditions in a national newspaper market that has been shrinking for years, two other ‘national’ newspapers have launched this year – and are still going.

Cumbria-based regional publisher CN Group launched 24, “the North’s national”, on 20 June.

Elsewhere, Archant launched the New European – a “pop-up paper” published weekly and aimed at the 48 per cent who voted Remain in the EU referendum – earlier this month.

It has claimed a launch circulation of 40,000 – around the level New Day was at before Trinity Mirror closed the title.

Good news, finally

It has been a tough year on Fleet Street.

In addition to the failed New Day, the Independent and the Independent on Sunday were also closed.

Hundreds of jobs have been lost across the Independent, Guardian, Telegraph, Mirror and others.

And publishers have reported double-digit advertising revenue declines.

So the circulation figures for June, providing some rare good news, will be savoured.

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