Scotland business

Sales slump for Scottish newspapers

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Image caption The circulations of the Herald, Sunday Herald, Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday have all fallen

Four of Scotland's main newspapers have all reported big drops in sales, according to the latest official figures.

The Herald, The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday all saw their circulation fall to fresh lows.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Herald has lost nearly all the extra sales it gained after backing independence.

Their publishers all stress the growing importance of their internet businesses.

The sales figures come from the official newspaper circulation body ABC and cover the period from July to December last year.

The Scotsman recorded an average circulation of 22,740 - down from around 23,700 in the first half of last year and 26,200 in the equivalent period of 2014.

Only about 14,000 were sold at the full price. The rest were discounted or given away by businesses such as hotels and airlines.

Its sister paper Scotland on Sunday sold an average of 22,060 over the six months - down from 24,100 in the previous six months and 27,500 in the same period in 2014.

Glasgow rivals

The papers' traditional rivals based in Glasgow also saw substantial falls.

The Herald's six-month sales figure was 32,141 - unlike The Scotsman it does not give away multiple copies which boost the headline circulation figure. This compares to around 34,300 in the previous six months and 37,000 in the equivalent period a year earlier.

The Sunday Herald dropped from 29,000 to 25,000. It sold an average of 32,200 in the second half of 2014.

Unlike the other papers though, it has recorded lower figures before. In late 2013, the Sunday Herald's circulation fell to below 24,000 but it received a boost after it became the only mainstream newspaper to back Scottish independence.

A detailed analysis of the figures shows that sales of all four titles in December - which is usually a bad month for newspaper sales - were even lower than the headline figures.

Job cuts

Johnston Press, which owns The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday, recently announced plans to cut jobs across its Scottish operation and said Scotland on Sunday was no longer a core asset.

The Herald's owner Newsquest also announced plans for redundancies.

Both companies are, however, keen to highlight the success of their newspapers websites.

Newspaper owners also stress that falling sales do not necessarily amount to falling numbers of readers or declining influence, although publishers across the world are struggling to find ways of making money out of mainstream news websites.

The other main Scottish newspapers and the Scottish editions of the UK-wide papers report their sales monthly.

In January the Daily Record slipped to 176,000 against 203,000 in January 2015. The Scottish edition of The Sun sold 218,000 copies.

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