Please mind the gap: 17,000 sales split big two news groups in Scotland

ANYONE who downloaded QND:03 the other week will have heard me banging on about the
battle for newspaper sales in Scotland, particularly as it affects the big two:
Trinity Mirror and News International.

It
was centred on a statistic. Actually, around the number,
17,191
.

That’s
the difference in newspaper sales between the combined might of Trinity
Mirror’s nationals in Scotland and those from News International.

The
five TM papers – Daily Record, Mirror, Sunday Mirror, Sunday Mail and People –
are now just more than 17,000 sales ahead of the four News International titles
in the Sun, News of the World, Times and Sunday Times.

It
covered the year on year period up until October.

The
Scottish Sun, of course, could be argued as having had the psychological edge
over the Daily Record in recent months as the best selling daily in Scotland.

But
Trinity Mirror are still the leaders across their range of titles and pushing
on apace with its digital offerings, suggesting it doesn’t plan to relinquish
the crown without something of a fight.

All
of which, in my book at least, would suggest that 2010 could become perhaps the
most important year for both companies in Scotland for a generation.

With
it an expectation that we could also be in for a real dogfight of the kind not
seen since the good old days when papers used content to fairly bludgeon
their rivals over the head with a rolled up newspaper.

This
time around we should see video, podcasts and award winning journalism combine
to see who, ultimately, will be victor in what is shaping up to be the keenest
fight in UK journalism this side of the millennium.

Oh,
over-egg it why don’t you Milne?

Actually,
I don’t think so. 

The
Sun and News of the World remain so far ahead in England that it is hard to
argue that the gap will close anytime soon.

That’s
despite some, in my opinion, quite brilliant recent reporting by the Daily
Mirror in particular which is doing what it does best in getting stuck about
the ribs of the Tories, producing some excellent news investigation and upping
it showbiz offerings.

But
here in Scotland it’s a different kettle of fish altogether.

The
margins are hugely tight, yet consequences never more important.

The
Scottish Sun has its tails up, is strutting with a swagger of a paper that is
confident in not only what it is doing, but what it expects to come next.

My
old paper the Daily Record, meanwhile, has had a troubled couple of years in not
just losing its crown as the best selling paper, but going through a painful
restructuring process, to which the staff are still adapting too.

However
I’ve detected a real change in the mood there, not just hope for the future,
but a sense of looking forwards with new found determination, not back

A
wounded lion, now ready to bite back with some vengeance.

And
the real winner here should – hopefully – be journalism, regardless of which
red top wins your pennies in the morning.

Scottish Sun:
                        354,910
versus 365,534                        (down
10,624  -2.9%)

Daily
Record:                         311,304
versus 341,625                        (down
30,321 -8.8%)

(43,606
difference)

But
while this daily battle of the news stands is the one that always hogs the
trade headlines and keeps the editors on their toes, it’s actually the Sunday market
where I think the real action will be taking place.

The
all conquering Sunday Mail still holds a commanding lead of 89,080.

But
that’s significantly down from 153,549 the previous year on Average Net
Circulation.

That’s a fall of 9.6 per cent, to under
400,000 sales at 384,345.

Yet in the same market (all be it with
some pricing support) the Scottish News of the World is actually up 8.7 per
cent to be nudging 300,000 at 295.265.

Still a healthy gap.

But that’s what they said about the
Scottish Sun not so very long ago.

And even if the Trinity Mirror red-tops
retain all their sales, News Int only needs to add 18,000 to take the lead as
the best selling set of nationals in the country.

Now don’t tell me that isn’t
achievable.

Sunday
Mail:             384,345
versus 425,033                         (down
40,688 -9.6%)

Scottish
News of the World: 295,265 versus 271,484 
(up 23,781 +8.7%)

(89,080
difference (down from 153,549) 

Of course we mustn’t forget that the
other news groups re still battling away too with mixed fortunes.

This blog had its opinions of the way
the staff restructuring at the Herald stable was handled in months gone by.

And while I suspect there will be more
changes to come, you cannot say their new website isn’t a massive improvement,
nor that some of the reporting in the Sunday Herald hasn’t contributed to its
marginal rise in sales.

The Daily Star – with heavy discounting
and vouchers across the Express group – retains its affection with its niche
readers too, a small staff working wonders amid the financial restrictions you
suspect they face.

Elsewhere, a sea of red showing
circulation continuing to fall, and likely to fall further as we enter the
festive season just as advertisers are looking to reach as many readers as
humanly possible.

And here too a battle every bit as
important to those involved as that at the other end of the sales spectrum between The Scotsman and The Herald.

The
Herald:                        56,137
versus 61,524             (down
5387 or 8.7%)

The
Scotsman:                   45,054
versus 48,673             (down
3619 or 7.4%)

(11,083
difference)

Who would bet against the combined
sale of both papers falling to under 100,000 a day by the time the New Year
bells toll.

Especially once you realise that the
joint sale of Scotland on Sunday and the Sunday Herald has now dipped to just
99,567.

A statistic, I’m sure, that should have us all wondering just what is in store for the future of newspapers in Scotland next year.

DAILIES IN
SCOTLAND

Scottish Sun: 354,910
from 365,534
(down
10,624  -2.9%)

Daily Record: 311,304
from 341,625
(down
30,321 -8.8%)

Scottish Daily Mail: 115,883
from 116,532
(down
649 -0.55 %)

Daily Star of
Scotland:
86,065 from 83,359 (up
2706 +3.2%)

Scottish Daily
Express:
68,661 from 73,722 (down
5061 -6.8 %)

The Herald: 56,137 from 61,524 (down
5387  -8.7 %)

The Scotsman: 45,054 from 48,673 (down
3619 -7.4 %)

Scottish Daily Mirror: 26,670 from 29,610 (down
2940  -9.9 %)

The Times: 25,780
from 28,746
(down
2966 -10.3%)

Daily Telegraph: 23,376 from 24,258 (down
882  -3.6%)

The Guardian: 15,109 from 16,394 (down
1285  -7.8%)

The Independent:      7424 from 8305 (down
881 -10.6%)

Financial Times:       4529 from 5726 (down
1197 or 20.9%)

SUNDAYS IN
SCOTLAND

Sunday Mail: 384,345
versus 425,033
(down
40,688 -9.6%)

Scottish News of the
World:
295,265
versus 271,484
(up 23,781 +8.7%)

Sunday Post: 236,774
versus 254,027
(down
17,253 or -6.8 %)

Scottish Mail on
Sunday:
103,090
versus 109,970
(down
6880 or -6.2 %)

Sunday Times Scotland: 67,555
versus 72,020
(down 4465 or -6.2%)

Scotland on Sunday: 56,308
versus 62,258
(down 5950 or -9.6%)

Sunday Herald: 43,259
versus 43,095
(up
164 or +0.38%).

Scottish Sunday
Express:
38,594
versus 43,307
(down
4713 or 10.9 %)

Scottish Sunday
Mirror:
23,224
versus 26,587
(down 3363 or -12.6 %)

Sunday Telegraph: 20,247
versus 20,870
(down
623 or -2.9%)

The Observer: 19,809
versus 23,471
(down 3662 or -15.6%)

The People: 14,558
versus 18,898
(down
4340 or -22.9%)

Independent on Sunday:      6140
versus 9480
(down
3340 or -35.2 %)




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