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National Newspapers - UK - March 2015

“Compensating for declining circulation revenue without raising cover prices continues to be a struggle for newspapers. Going forward, the best option for boosting digital revenue may be a ‘soft’ paywall, where more exclusive digital products are made paid-for, while basic news remains free in order to keep audience reach high.”
– Rebecca McGrath, Research Analyst

This report answers the following questions:

  • Is the paywall the answer?
  • How are newspapers adapting their products for the digital world?

This report looks at the UK national newspapers market as newspapers continue to adjust to perpetually declining print circulation numbers and explore ways of growing their digital presence and revenue.

Despite circulation declines print revenue remains the primary source of revenue for national newspapers, leaving publishers examining the best methods of fully monetising their digital products in a world where people are accustomed to obtaining online news for free. The last year has though yielded slightly more positive results for many of the big players, giving a more optimistic view of the role of national newspapers going forward.

This report examines the factors driving demand for national newspapers, looks at sales trends overall and by segment, assesses market shares, profiles the leading publishers and provides a consumer viewpoint concerning brand perception; it documents readership levels, devices used to access national news online, sites visited online and general attitudes towards national newspapers.

For the purposes of this report, national newspapers are defined as those newspapers that are circulated throughout the UK. There remains a lack of uniformity among the major monitoring bodies (the Newspaper Society and ABC) as to which titles should be included as nationals and which as regionals, but in most respects this report adheres to ABC practice.

Going forward, national newspapers need to continue to explore different payment options and ways of boosting digital revenue. The most likely ultimate solution will be a form of ‘soft’ paywall, where certain, more exclusive, content and products have a fee, while the main ‘basic news’ section remains free in order to boost browser numbers and advertising revenue. It is also vitally important that newspapers continue to adapt their products to suit different needs and devices now that news is read across so many types of screens.

Although the future for national newspapers appears to lie online, investment should continue to be made in the print product. There is likely always to be a market for print newspapers, even if it becomes increasingly niche, and therefore publishers need to ensure their newspapers remain fresh, with a good focus on in-depth commentary pieces to make-up for the printing time-lag.

 

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Definition
        • Abbreviations
        • Executive Summary

            • The market
              • Print circulation continues its downward trend
                • Figure 1: Trends in total UK annual newspaper circulation, 2009-19
              • Market share
                • Popular newspapers see greatest declines
                  • Figure 2: Daily national newspapers average circulation, six months to December 2013-14
                • Who’s innovating?
                  • The Economist Espresso offers five-minute news digest
                    • FT launches FT Antenna and FirstFT
                      • The Independent launches user-focused i100
                        • The consumer
                          • Less than a third read a daily newspaper regularly
                            • Figure 3: Daily print newspapers read regularly, January 2015
                          • Under a quarter read a Sunday newspaper regularly
                            • Figure 4: Sunday print newspapers read regularly, January 2015
                          • Almost three quarters of newspaper readers read at home
                            • Figure 5: Print newspaper behaviour, January 2015
                          • Majority have looked at online news in last three months
                            • Figure 6: Devices used for online national news, January 2015
                          • Mail Online and Guardian.com lead the way online
                            • Figure 7: Online newspapers visited, January 2015
                          • Over a third read comments sections
                            • Figure 8: Online newspapers behaviour, January 2015
                          • More than a third feel quality is worth payment
                            • Figure 9: Attitudes towards national newspapers, January 2015
                          • What we think
                          • Issues and Insights

                              • Is the paywall the answer?
                                • The facts
                                  • The implications
                                    • How are newspapers adapting their products for the digital world?
                                      • The facts
                                        • The Implications
                                        • Trend Application

                                            • Trend: FSTR HYPR
                                              • Trend: Collective Intelligence
                                                • Mintel Futures: Brand Intervention
                                                • Market Drivers

                                                  • Key points
                                                    • National daily newspaper readership falls below a third
                                                      • Figure 10: Trends in readership* of national daily newspapers, 1971-2014
                                                    • Growth in smartphone/tablet ownership increases shift to online news
                                                      • Figure 11: Household ownership levels of selected digital devices, September 2013 – October 2014
                                                    • Mail Online still leads the way
                                                      • Figure 12: Trends in monthly unique visitors to national newspaper websites using PCs*, December 2013 – December 2014
                                                    • Cover prices remain fairly static
                                                      • Figure 13: Basic UK cover prices for national newspapers, Jan 2015
                                                    • IPSO is established
                                                    • Who's Innovating?

                                                      • Key points
                                                        • Online newspapers keeping people briefed
                                                          • FT launches FT Antenna and FirstFT
                                                            • The Economist Espresso offers similar five-minute news digest
                                                              • The Independent launches user-focused i100
                                                                • Guardian launches three-tier membership scheme
                                                                  • Guardian and FT launch new looks
                                                                  • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                    • Key points
                                                                      • Print circulation continues its declining trend
                                                                        • Figure 14: Trends in total UK annual newspaper circulation, 2009-19
                                                                      • Further significant growth in digital browsers
                                                                        • Figure 15: Trends in selected national newspapers website visits*, 2010-14
                                                                      • Forecast
                                                                        • Figure 16: Trends in total UK annual newspaper circulation, 2009-19
                                                                      • Forecast methodology
                                                                      • Segment Performance

                                                                        • Key points
                                                                          • Sunday newspapers see greater declines than dailies
                                                                            • Figure 17: Trends in circulation of national newspapers by broad sector, 2009-14
                                                                          • Popular nationals perform poorly
                                                                            • Figure 18: Trends in average circulation/issue of newspapers, by segment, 2011-14
                                                                          • Only The Times and The Independent see Sunday edition outperforming Saturday
                                                                            • Figure 19: Indexed comparison of sales of weekday and weekend editions of national newspaper print titles, December 2014
                                                                        • Market Share

                                                                          • Key points
                                                                            • The Times only newspaper to see circulation gains
                                                                              • Figure 20: National newspaper UK circulations, 2011-14
                                                                            • Popular Sunday titles drop significantly more
                                                                              • Figure 21: National Sunday newspapers UK circulations, 2011-14
                                                                            • Three quarters of circulation from big three
                                                                              • Figure 22: Overall national newspaper publisher market share by circulation, 2013-14
                                                                          • Companies and Products

                                                                              • DMG Media
                                                                                • Background
                                                                                  • Financials
                                                                                    • Figure 23: Key financial data for DMG Media, 2013-14
                                                                                  • Express Newspapers
                                                                                    • Background
                                                                                      • Financial performance
                                                                                        • Figure 24: Key financial data for Express Newspapers, 2009-13
                                                                                      • Recent activity
                                                                                        • Financial Times
                                                                                          • Background
                                                                                            • Financials
                                                                                              • Figure 25: Key financial data for Financial Times Ltd, 2009-13
                                                                                            • Recent activity
                                                                                              • Guardian Media Group
                                                                                                • Background
                                                                                                  • Financials
                                                                                                    • Figure 26: Key financial data for Guardian News & Media Ltd. 2010-14
                                                                                                  • Recent activity
                                                                                                    • Independent Print
                                                                                                      • Background
                                                                                                        • Financials
                                                                                                          • Figure 27: Key financial data for Independent Print Ltd, 2011-13
                                                                                                        • Recent activity
                                                                                                          • News UK
                                                                                                            • Background
                                                                                                              • Financials
                                                                                                                • Figure 28: Key financial data for News Group Newspapers, 2010-14
                                                                                                                • Figure 29: Key financial data for Times Newspapers, 2010-14
                                                                                                              • Telegraph Media Group
                                                                                                                • Background
                                                                                                                  • Financials
                                                                                                                    • Figure 30: Key financial data for Telegraph Media Group, 2010-13
                                                                                                                  • Recent activity
                                                                                                                    • Trinity Mirror
                                                                                                                      • Background
                                                                                                                        • Financials
                                                                                                                          • Figure 31: Key financial data for Trinity Mirror plc, 2010-13
                                                                                                                        • Recent activity
                                                                                                                        • Brand Communication and Promotion

                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                            • Publishers continue to reduce adspend
                                                                                                                              • Figure 32: Main monitored media adspend for national newspapers, by category. 2011-14
                                                                                                                            • Only FT has increased adspend
                                                                                                                              • Figure 33: Main monitored media adspend for national newspapers, by leading publishers, 2011-14
                                                                                                                          • Brand Research – National Newspapers

                                                                                                                            • What you need to know
                                                                                                                              • Brand map
                                                                                                                                • Figure 34: Attitudes towards and usage of selected brands, March 2015
                                                                                                                              • Key brand metrics
                                                                                                                                • Figure 35: Key metrics for selected brands, March 2015
                                                                                                                              • Brand attitudes: Most prominent factor around red tops is value
                                                                                                                                • Figure 36: Attitudes, by brand, March 2015
                                                                                                                              • Brand personality: The Sun and Daily Mirror’s less serious offering promotes fun brand image
                                                                                                                                • Figure 37: Brand personality – macro image, March 2015
                                                                                                                              • Quality newspapers associated more strongly with sophistication, authority and credibility
                                                                                                                                • Figure 38: Brand personality – micro image, March 2015
                                                                                                                              • Brand analysis
                                                                                                                                • The Guardian has stronger image of social responsibility than other titles
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 39: Reader profile of The Guardian, March 2015
                                                                                                                                • The Times is associated with quality
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 40: User profile of The Times, March 2015
                                                                                                                                • Daily Mail enjoys strongest level of penetration and favouritism
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 41: User profile of Daily Mail, March 2015
                                                                                                                                • The Daily Telegraph seen as similar to The Times
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 42: User profile of The Daily Telegraph, March 2015
                                                                                                                                • Daily Express sits in between quality newspapers and red tops
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 43: User profile of Daily Express, March 2015
                                                                                                                                • The Sun has strong level of readership despite certain negative associations
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 44: User profile of The Sun, March 2015
                                                                                                                                • Daily Mirror lacks the same strength of image as The Sun
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 45: User profile of Daily Mirror, March 2015
                                                                                                                                • Daily Star most likely to be seen as tacky
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 46: User profile of Daily Star, March 2015
                                                                                                                              • The Consumer – Newspaper readership

                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                  • Less than third read a daily newspaper regularly
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 47: Daily print newspapers read regularly, January 2015
                                                                                                                                  • Under a quarter regularly read Sunday newspaper
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 48: Sunday print newspapers read regularly, January 2015
                                                                                                                                • The Consumer – Print Newspaper Behaviour

                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                    • Almost three quarters of newspaper readers read at home
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 49: Print newspaper behaviour, January 2015
                                                                                                                                  • The Consumer – Devices Used

                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                      • Majority have looked at online news in last three months
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 50: Devices used for online national news, January 2015
                                                                                                                                      • Smartphone is preferred device for online news
                                                                                                                                      • The Consumer – Online Newspapers Visited

                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                          • Mail Online and Guardian.com well ahead of competitors
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 51: Online newspapers visited, January 2015
                                                                                                                                        • The Consumer – Online Newspapers Behaviour

                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                            • Over a third read comment sections
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 52: Online Newspapers Behaviour, January 2015
                                                                                                                                            • Only one in 10 willing to pay
                                                                                                                                              • Over a fifth enjoy online news while commuting
                                                                                                                                              • The Consumer – Attitudes towards National Newspapers

                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                  • More than a third feels quality is worth payment
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 53: Attitudes towards national newspapers, January 2015
                                                                                                                                                  • Mixed concerns about extent of press regulation
                                                                                                                                                    • Ease and speed of finding content advantage for online newspapers

                                                                                                                                                    Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                    • Associated Newspapers Ltd
                                                                                                                                                    • Daily Express
                                                                                                                                                    • Daily Mail
                                                                                                                                                    • Daily Mail and General Trust Group plc
                                                                                                                                                    • Daily Mirror (The)
                                                                                                                                                    • Daily Record & Sunday Mail
                                                                                                                                                    • Daily Star (The)
                                                                                                                                                    • dmg world media
                                                                                                                                                    • Emap plc
                                                                                                                                                    • Evening Standard
                                                                                                                                                    • Express Newspapers plc
                                                                                                                                                    • Financial Times Group
                                                                                                                                                    • Independent (The)
                                                                                                                                                    • Independent News & Media PLC
                                                                                                                                                    • Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd
                                                                                                                                                    • London Stock Exchange plc
                                                                                                                                                    • Metro (The)
                                                                                                                                                    • Northern & Shell plc
                                                                                                                                                    • Trinity Mirror plc
                                                                                                                                                    • YouView TV Ltd

                                                                                                                                                    National Newspapers - UK - March 2015

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