National Newspapers - UK - April 2013
“Whether consumers like it or not, the only long-term sustainable business model for national newspapers’ online operations is to combine revenue from advertising with some form of subscription payment, so it is likely that we will see more brands switching to this model in the next 12-18 months.”
– Michael Oliver, Senior Leisure and Media Analyst
Some questions answered in this report include:
- How can national newspapers best capitalise on their growing digital audience?
- How can national newspapers enhance their appeal to female readers?
- Does print have a future as a newspaper medium?
- Is the separate Sunday newspaper an outdated concept?
The long-term decline in newspaper readership has continued in the past year, as has the migration to digital news channels. With two more brands announcing their intention to introduce a paywall, the attention of the industry is still firmly focused on the subject of how to generate sufficient revenues from the fast-growing digital audience, with a light sideshow (probably of more interest to the industry than end consumer) of the prospect of tougher statutory regulation.
With Mintel’s research showing newspaper readers to be generally favourable towards paying for digital access, it seems that consumers are gradually coming round to the point of view that good content costs money to create and that it is unsustainable for newspapers to provide it for free when they are asking other customers to pay for it in print form. Additionally, as the ratio of readers swings away from print towards digital, it is increasingly important for publishers to monetise that digital audience.
This report brings the market up to date with 2012 data as well as exploring consumer purchasing behaviour, general attitudes, content preference and views on paying for digital content.
For the purposes of this report, national newspapers are defined as those newspapers that are circulated throughout the UK.
The term ‘circulation’ refers to the number of copies of a newspaper that are sold or delivered to consumers. ‘Readership’ refers to the number of consumers who read a newspaper and thus is higher with the addition of pass-on readers.
The report uses the ABC classifications of Popular, Mid-market and Quality throughout.
Currently, as monitored by ABC, the three sectors include the following titles:
Popular: Daily Mirror, Daily Star, Daily Record, The Sun, The Sun on Sunday, Daily Star Sunday, News of the World, Sunday People, Sunday Mail, Sunday Mirror. The News of the World was included in this category prior to its closure in July 2011.
Mid-market: Daily Mail, Daily Express, The Mail on Sunday, Sunday Express, The Sunday Post.
Quality: The Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, The Guardian, The Independent, i, The Times, Independent on Sunday, The Observer, The Sunday Telegraph, The Sunday Times.
Mintel classifies the London Evening Standard as a regional, as does the Newspaper Society, while the Metro titles are also classified as regionals.
Specialist national sports papers such as the Racing Post are excluded.
It is not possible to write about national newspapers without discussing their digital operations, including websites and apps for use on smartphones, tablets and e-readers. While these are excluded from the main market size table in this report (which relates to print edition sales only), data are provided on website visits for the purposes of comparison and reference is made throughout the report to digital products such as apps since this is where much of the innovation in the market is taking place.
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