Tabloid market under pressure as sales fall below 6m

LONDON - The Sun and The Mirror hit new lows as the red-top daily market fell below 6m copies in March's ABC national newspaper circulation figures.

The red-tops were the worst performing market sector, down 1.21% from 6.04m copies in February to 5.97m in March.

The Daily Mirror's plight worsened after it lost 1.33% of its circulation over the month to reach a new low of 1,634,584.

However, there is also cause for concern at News International, which saw The Sun's relative resilience fade. The tabloid fell 1.09% to 3,110,999 copies, its lowest level for since January 1974.

A fall of 1.06% to 783,511 for Richard Desmond's Daily Star added to the category's overall decline.

In the mid-markets the Daily Mail suffered a 1.7% drop to 2,397,768 copies, but remains above the levels it has shown in recent months. The Daily Express inched up to 831,923 with a 0.49% rise.

In the quality market The Independent was the only paper to show a marked swing, as it fell 3.84% to 255,849 copies.

The Guardian fell just 0.81%, but its monthly figure of 379,835 is the lowest since its major relaunch in September, when it managed to sell 404,187 copies.

The only paper to have a good month was the Financial Times, up 1.17% to 445,986. The Times and the Daily Telegraph were hardly changed, both up 0.04% to 669,973 and 901,491 respectively.

The News of the World, which last month failed to ensnare George Galloway MP in one of its infamous fake sheikh scams, saw the biggest slump for a Sunday newspaper.

The News International Sunday tabloid was down 4.76% during March, a drop from 3,630,176 in February to 3,457,436, marking a continuing downward trend in sales, with the latest figures adding to a year-on-year fall of 1.87%.

Mirror Group Newspapers rival the People also performed poorly, down 3.99% in March to 849,123. 

Other popular Sunday titles the Daily Star Sunday and Sunday Mirror held steady, with only marginal falls. The Daily Star Sunday was down 0.25% to 385,741 and Sunday Mirror was down just 0.32% to 1,447,150.

Runaway middle market leader, the Mail on Sunday, experienced a dip of 0.64% to 2,270,874, while rival Sunday Express performed better with a 3.64% increase to 894,364.

The Independent on Sunday was the worst performing Sunday national broadsheet, slumping 4.54% during March to 233,193, which will come as a blow to the title that had managed to achieve a year-on-year increase of 11.8%.

Elsewhere among the broadsheet Sundays, The Observer was down 2.19% to 473,732, the Sunday Times was down 1.13% to 1,356,042 and the Sunday Telegraph was up by 0.85% to 689,572.

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