The latest ABC report, documenting the falling newspaper circulation figures of February 2015, is once again in support of our argument that brands need to be looking over and above the obvious when considering advertising avenues (our media team have a whole host of tips if you’re ready to take this step) . February was a tough month across the board with quality, mid-market and popular titles all losing readers, though some fared worse than others.
 
On average, across the month, daily titles saw an audience loss of 3.6% with the Sun (-6.9%) and the Guardian (-5%) taking the hardest hit. Focusing on quality titles, the Financial Times (-4.1%) and the Independent (-3.6%) both recorded significant readership losses. However, the ‘i’ (-0.7%) and the Times (-1.9%) were less affected, with the latter being the only title amongst quality papers to report YoY growth (+1.8%).
 
In the mid-market category, both the Daily Express (-2.1%) and the Daily Mail (-3.3%) lost out on readers.
 
Popular title, the Daily Star, was the only newspaper across the board to see an increase in readership (+0.1%). However, the aforementioned Sun was the only title to report YoY growth within the category, up an impressive 8.7%.
 
Sunday titles provided further bad news, and whilst audience losses were less drastic relative to the daily reads, not one Sunday newspaper reported YoY growth.
 
Of course it’s vitally important that we make the point that these newspapers are still reaching massive audiences and connecting with a large proportion of the British public. However, of equal importance is the recognition that the way in which audiences are engaging with news content is diversifying and this should encourage two changes within the industry.
 
1) Newsbrands need to reconsider the cost of print advertising in keeping with the decreased audience reach.
2) Brands need to evaluate their media mix to ensure that the diverse range of ways to reach their target audience are fit for purpose.
 
It’s an extremely complex issue with the monetisation of news content becoming all the more concerning, however an issue that needs to be addressed.
 
We will, as ever, keep you posted on the fluctuating audience sizes of the UK’s largest newsbrands and make note of what these changes mean to you, the brands behind the ads.