The ABC figures due for release on Thursday evening will show the
Daily Express failing to climb back above the one million circulation
mark, even if a controversial maildrop is included in the newspaper's
Leaked figures obtained by Campaign show the Express reporting an
initial March ABC of 936,000, down 10.4 per cent year on year. The
figure also marks a drop of 1.5 per cent from last month's 950,523,
which marked the paper's first ever slide below the one million
These initial figures do not include four doordrops totalling an
estimated 960,000 copies, which also took place during the month.
Richard Desmond's Express Newspapers is understood to be in negotiations
with auditors over the extra copies.
If, as expected, the drops are included in the final ABC they should
provide the Express with an additional 32,000 in bulk sales. However,
even though this would represent a month-on-month increase, it will not
be enough to move back above the one million mark.
The Express doordrop has provoked opposition among rivals, who have
complained that receiving door-delivered copies does not involve any
choice on the part of a customer. There have also been complaints that a
proportion of the Express deliveries could have arrived in the evening,
when they were unlikely to have been read.
Express Newspapers can point to more positive news in the performance of
the Sunday Express, which has seen its circulation rise
The paper's March ABC of 963,000 is an increase of 10 per cent over last
month and an upturn of 0.3 per cent year on year. More encouragement
comes from the Daily Star, which rose 9.1 per cent year on year to
However, Desmond's mid-market rival, the Daily Mail, has stretched its
lead with a 1.2 per cent year-on-year increase to 2,405,000. The other
strong performer was The Observer, which posted an 11 per cent
year-on-year increase to 446,000.
NEWSPAPER CIRCULATIONS MARCH 2001
ABC ABC ABC % Increased/
March 2001 Feb 2001 March 2000 decreased
Daily Express 936 951 1,045 -10.4
Daily Mail 2,405 2,394 2,377 1.2
The Sun 3,515 3,494 3,594 -2.2
The Mirror 2,189 2,212 2,260 -3.2
Daily Star 666 557 611 -1.6
The Daily Telegraph 1,021 1,011 1,038 -0.6
The Times 717 723 721 9.1
The Guardian 400 397 399 0.2
The Independent 226 224 224 1.1