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National Newspapers - UK - February 2017

“Heightened controversy over the spread of fake news and misinformation in 2016 has presented established national newspaper brands with an opportunity to reaffirm to the public the important role they play in terms of offering reliable journalism.”
– Rebecca McGrath, Senior Media Analyst

This Report discusses the following key topics:

  • Ad blockers and aggregators threaten advertising revenue
  • Fake news controversy opens door for newspapers to re-establish authority

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Print circulation sees further decline while online growth continues
              • Controversy over fake news calls into question the role of social media
                • Section 40 causes concern as press regulation battle continues
                  • Brexit vote boosts print circulation
                    • Ad blockers further threaten advertising revenue
                      • Key players
                        • The Independent becomes first national newspaper to focus solely on digital
                          • The Telegraph replaces metered paywall with new premium subscription service
                            • The consumer
                              • Only one in four regularly purchases a print newspaper
                                • Figure 1: Print newspaper purchases, October 2016
                              • A smartphone is the most popular device for reading news
                                • Figure 2: Devices used to read national news, October 2016
                              • The BBC dominates online news
                                • Figure 3: National news websites/apps visited, October 2016
                              • Many are reading directly on news reader app/websites
                                • Figure 4: National newspaper behaviour, October 2016
                              • Readers of quality newspapers more likely to feel current newspaper journalism is worth paying for
                                • Figure 5: Attitudes towards online national newspapers, October 2016
                              • What we think
                              • Issues and Insights

                                • Ad blockers and aggregators threaten advertising revenue
                                  • The facts
                                    • The implications
                                      • Fake news controversy opens door for newspapers to re-establish authority
                                        • The facts
                                          • The implications
                                          • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                            • Print circulation sees further decline while online growth continues
                                              • Controversy over fake news calls into question the role of social media
                                                • Section 40 causes concern as press regulation battle continues
                                                  • Brexit vote boosts print circulation
                                                    • Cover prices rise further
                                                      • New news aggregators produce mixed results for publishers
                                                        • Ad blockers further threaten advertising revenue
                                                        • Market Size and Forecast

                                                          • Print circulation sees further 5% decline
                                                            • Figure 6: Trends in total UK annual print circulation, 2011-21
                                                            • Figure 7: Trends in total UK annual print circulation, 2011-21
                                                          • The number of online browsers continues to grow
                                                            • Figure 8: Trends in selected national newspaper website visits*, 2012-16
                                                        • Market Drivers

                                                          • Further growth in mobile device ownership
                                                            • Figure 9: Personal ownership of consumer technology products, September 2015 and 2016
                                                          • Cover prices rise further
                                                            • Figure 10: Basic UK cover prices for national newspapers, January 2016 and December 2016
                                                          • Controversy over fake news calls into question the role of social media
                                                            • Ad blockers further threaten advertising revenue
                                                              • Section 40 causes press concerns as press regulation battle continues
                                                                • Brexit vote boosts print circulation
                                                                  • New news aggregators produce mixed results for publishers
                                                                  • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                                                    • The Times increases print circulation
                                                                      • The Mail Online is most popular national newspaper website
                                                                        • The Independent becomes first national newspaper to focus solely on digital
                                                                          • The Telegraph replaces metered paywall with new premium subscription service
                                                                            • The UK’s first ever pop-up newspaper launches after referendum
                                                                              • The Telegraph launches new video portal
                                                                                • The Mail explores ecommerce further
                                                                                • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                  • The Independent becomes the first national title to focus solely on digital
                                                                                    • The Telegraph replaces metered paywall with new premium subscription service
                                                                                      • The Telegraph launches new video portal
                                                                                        • The Guardian focuses on branded content with ‘Hosted by’
                                                                                          • The Mail explores ecommerce further
                                                                                            • The FT launches new analytics tool for journalists
                                                                                              • Advertising campaigns remind people of the importance of national newspapers
                                                                                                • The UK’s first ever pop-up newspaper launches after referendum
                                                                                                • Market Share

                                                                                                  • All newspaper segments see decline in circulation
                                                                                                    • Figure 11: Daily national newspapers’ average print circulation per issue, 2015 and 2016
                                                                                                  • Popular Sunday titles see worst declines
                                                                                                    • Figure 12: Sunday national newspapers’ average print circulation per issue, 2015 and 2016
                                                                                                  • The Mail Online is by far the most popular newspaper website
                                                                                                    • Figure 13: Average daily unique visits to national newspaper websites, 2015 and 2016
                                                                                                  • The Guardian and Mail Online lead the way on social media
                                                                                                    • Figure 14: Social media presence of select major UK newspapers, 2016 and 2017
                                                                                                • Brand Research

                                                                                                    • Brand map
                                                                                                      • Figure 15: Attitudes towards and usage of selected brands, January 2017
                                                                                                    • Key brand metrics
                                                                                                      • Figure 16: Key metrics for selected brands, January 2017
                                                                                                    • Brand attitudes: quality newspapers’ reputations drive an increased willingness to pay
                                                                                                      • Figure 17: Attitudes, by brand, January 2017
                                                                                                    • Brand personality: The Guardian is viewed as the most ethical
                                                                                                      • Figure 18: Brand personality – Macro image, January 2017
                                                                                                    • Popular newspapers are considered low-brow
                                                                                                      • Figure 19: Brand personality – Micro image, January 2017
                                                                                                    • Brand analysis
                                                                                                      • The Guardian has high levels of trust
                                                                                                        • Figure 20: User profile of The Guardian, January 2017
                                                                                                      • The Financial Times has a strong identity
                                                                                                        • Figure 21: User profile of Financial Times, January 2017
                                                                                                      • The Times lags only behind the Guardian on trust
                                                                                                        • Figure 22: User profile of The Times, January 2017
                                                                                                      • The Daily Telegraph trails other qualities on differentiation
                                                                                                        • Figure 23: User profile of The Daily Telegraph, January 2017
                                                                                                      • The Daily Mail is considered relatable
                                                                                                        • Figure 24: User profile of Daily Mail, January 2017
                                                                                                      • The Daily Express struggles to stand out
                                                                                                        • Figure 25: User profile of Daily Express, January 2017
                                                                                                      • The Daily Mirror scores well on accessibility and value but doesn’t make as strong an impression as rivals
                                                                                                        • Figure 26: User profile of Daily Mirror, January 2017
                                                                                                      • The Sun divides opinion
                                                                                                        • Figure 27: User profile of The Sun, January 2017
                                                                                                    • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                      • Only one in four regularly purchases a print newspaper
                                                                                                        • A smartphone is the most popular device for reading news
                                                                                                          • The BBC dominates online news
                                                                                                            • Many have read news directly on an aggregator website/app
                                                                                                              • One in five has used an ad blocker
                                                                                                                • There is limited trust in online national news
                                                                                                                  • Many find text news preferable to video
                                                                                                                    • Younger people are more interested in VR news
                                                                                                                    • Print Newspaper Purchases

                                                                                                                      • Only one in four regularly purchases a print newspaper
                                                                                                                        • Figure 28: Print newspapers purchases, October 2016
                                                                                                                      • Major events encourage people to buy newspapers
                                                                                                                        • Figure 29: Print newspaper purchases, by age, October 2016
                                                                                                                    • Devices Used to Read National News

                                                                                                                      • A smartphone is the most popular device for reading news
                                                                                                                        • Figure 30: Devices used to read national news, October 2016
                                                                                                                      • Readership via smartphone peaks among 25-34s
                                                                                                                        • Figure 31: Devices used to read national news, by age, October 2016
                                                                                                                    • National News Websites/Apps Visited

                                                                                                                      • The BBC dominates online news
                                                                                                                        • The Guardian is the most popular online national newspaper
                                                                                                                          • Figure 32: National news websites/apps visited, October 2016
                                                                                                                        • Two out of five only use one source
                                                                                                                          • Figure 33: Repertoire of national news websites/apps visited, October 2016
                                                                                                                      • National Newspaper Behaviour

                                                                                                                        • Many are reading directly on news reader app/websites
                                                                                                                          • The Sun launches new edition on Snapchat
                                                                                                                            • Figure 34: National newspaper behaviour, October 2016
                                                                                                                          • Social media plays an important role for younger people
                                                                                                                            • Figure 35: Social media behaviour, by age, October 2016
                                                                                                                          • One in five has used an ad blocker on an online newspaper
                                                                                                                          • Attitudes towards Online National Newspapers

                                                                                                                            • Newspapers need to strike the right balance with video content
                                                                                                                              • Figure 36: Attitudes towards online national newspapers, October 2016
                                                                                                                            • Only some feel current national newspaper journalism is worth paying for
                                                                                                                              • There is limited trust in online news websites/apps
                                                                                                                                • Younger people are more likely to prefer editorial judgement to algorithms
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 37: Agree with statement ‘Having the stories ‘selected’ for me by editors/journalists is better than by an automatic system based on previous reads, what friends are viewing etc’, by age, October 2016
                                                                                                                                • Younger people are more interested in VR news
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 38: Agree with statement ‘watching stories using virtual reality technology appeals to me’, by age, October 2016
                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                  • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                    • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                      • Forecast
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 39: Trends in total UK newspaper circulation, 2016-21
                                                                                                                                      • Forecast Methodology

                                                                                                                                      National Newspapers - UK - February 2017

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