Media Lifeline: Daily Star

Sales drops, price cuts and libel suits, oh my! It's been a long annus horribilis for the Daily Star.

6 March 2008: The Italian footballer Marco Materazzi wins an apology and undisclosed damages from the Daily Star, owned by Richard Desmond, over its claims that Materazzi racially insulted Zinedine Zidane during the 2006 Fifa World Cup final.

19 March 2008: A month to remember as stablemates the Daily Express and the Daily Star announce they are to pay a total of £550,000 to Gerry and Kate McCann after apologising for a number of articles alleging that the McCanns were responsible for their daughter Madeleine's disappearance and supposed death.

July 2008: The Daily Star is one of a number of British newspapers agreeing to pay damages to Robert Murat, the man who had briefly been a police suspect in the Madeleine McCann investigation. The total payout, from 11 newspapers, stretches to more than £600,000.

August 2008: The Sun's coverprice cut of 5p to 30p on 8 August helps its circulation without immediately damaging the sales of any of its red-top rivals. But as summer turns to autumn, the Daily Star begins to feel the pressure with sales down by 2.6 per cent in September.

November 2008: The Daily Star announces that it is to slash its coverprice by 15p to only 20p, undercutting The Sun and making it the UK's cheapest newspaper. Days later, in the ABC figures for October, it is revealed that the Star is the biggest loser that month, with a 9.63 per cent decline in circulation to 696,893.

Fast forward ...

March 2009: The Daily Star - an apology. In an issue of Campaign, dated 14 November 2008, we predicted that the Daily Star, owned by Richard Desmond's Express Newspapers, would soon have to undo its coverprice cuts (and some) in order to pay for past and future libel awards. We apologise for any distress that this prediction may cause.

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