Scottish readers turn to London titles

Pile of newspapers Image copyright Other
Image caption The winners have been at the red-top end of the newspaper market

The fall-out in the newspaper market from the sudden demise of the News of the World is now clearer.

And in Scotland, the winner is...London.

As I noted a month ago, the regular circulation figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulation show us where buyers are going, now that the market leader is no longer on the Sunday news-stand.

It's no surprise that the winners have been at the red-top end of the market. Comparing June - the last month the News of the World completed a month's sale - with August, the Daily Star Sunday was up 143%, from 306,000 to 745,000. The People is (or are?) up from 475,000 to 892,000 (that's 87%).

The big winner in sales, if not percentage, is so far the Sunday Mirror - up from 1,088,000 in June, to 1,900,000 (or 74%). It is, however, still behind Sunday's biggest seller these days - the Mail on Sunday, selling 2,098,000 (these numbers have been rounded, by the way).

Jings! Crivvens!

That's the UK picture. What about Scotland?

Among national newspapers. let us compare Scottish sales figures last month with August last year.

From that, it's clear that these same three red-top titles, based in London, have more than doubled their sales north of the border. That pushed up figures for the Daily Star Sunday to 62,000, the Sunday Mirror to 46,000 and The People to 31,000.

The market leader in Scotland remains, by a long way, the Sunday Mail, stablemate of the Daily Record.

Comparing last month with the June figures before the demise of the News of the World, The Sunday Mail put on 60,000 sales, to 420,000. That's a welcome extra sale, but at 16%, it's less than a third of the rate of increase seen by its London competitors.

Looking at Scottish circulation only, and comparing last month with August 2010, sales of the Sunday Mail were up only 6% to 387,000.

One reason may be the decision by Trinity Mirror, owners of the Sunday Mail, the People and the Sunday Mirror, to boost the print-runs of the two London-based title and to offer promotions, following the closure of Rupert Murdoch's scandal-struck News of the World, while they opted to do far less with the Sunday Mail.

Indeed, the Sunday Mail and the Daily Record are losing a large proportion of their journalists, while taking more editorial material from their London stablemates.

The Sunday Post, part of DC Thomson, might have hoped to gain a bit too. But its sale in Scotland was up on August last year by only 1,130 copies to 230,000.

Festival sales

While we're comparing London titles with Scottish ones, it's worth noting that the Independent on Sunday, The Observer and the Sunday Telegraph all put on sales when comparing last month with August 2010 - albeit they did so from a modest base.

But Scotland on Sunday was down and the Sunday Herald very sharply so, since its magazine format re-launch at the start of this year.

The Glasgow title is down 26% on the six months to August last year, at only 31,000 average sales over the six months to August.

Scotland on Sunday has had volatile sales over recent months. The August figure is 15% up on July, to 56,000. But it's down 6.5% when taking its six-month average from March.

Likewise, its sister paper, The Scotsman, has ups and downs, and its Edinburgh Festival coverage may explain a 9% lift between July and August to 42,000. However - along with the entire industry facing declines - it's still down 3,000 on last year's capital festivities.