NoW closure boosts rival sales

Five Sunday tabloids sell nearly two million more copies in July.

Sunday tabloid sales have increased by almost two million following the last issue of the News of the World on July 10, according to Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) figures published today.

The Sunday Mirror fared best in terms of new customers, with an increase in customers of 700,000 in July compared to the previous month, taking total sales to 1,786,454. The paper's sales were up 55 per cent on July 2010.

Richard Desmond's Daily Star Sunday gained the biggest percentage increases, with sales at 703, 632 in July, up 130 per cent from June.

Other papers to have benefitted include the People, the Sunday Express and the Mail on Sunday.

In contrast, News Corp.-owned Sunday Times saw a decline in sales as circulation fell below the one million mark for the first time since the early 1960s.

Until its closure, the Murdoch-owned NoW was the UK's biggest-selling Sunday paper. However, the newspaper's forced closure in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal left the Mail on Sunday in first place "by a substantial margin" according to its publishers. Owned by Associated Newspapers, the Mail on Sunday sells more copies than the Sunday Times, Observer, Sunday Telegraph and Independent on Sunday put together. With nearly 300,000 extra copies sold in July, the paper has also gained from the end of its Murdoch-owned rival.

The Sunday tabloids have invested significantly in price-cutting and promotions over the past six weeks in an attempt to maximise on the closure of the NoW. The 2.67 million circulation figures for NoW in June suggest, however, that overall Sunday tabloid sales are down by 600,000.

Some say this confirms predictions that the closure of the Murdoch paper would lead to fewer buying a Sunday paper. Others put the gap down to under-reported figures for the tabloids in July since ABC takes an average of the sales across the whole month. As a result, August figures will provide important further data.