Last month saw birthday celebrations in UK newspaper land. The Daily Mail was marking its 125th year, while the Guardian was 200 years old. But is there much to celebrate?
Newspapers – in their print versions – have never been at a lower ebb. The graph of circulation from 1956 to 2019* (below) looks like a tracer map of missiles fired from the left-hand side finding their target on the ground at the right. In 1966, when I was born, 15.5m national newspapers were sold every day. In 2019, under 7.5m were distributed – and the freesheet Metro accounted for almost 1.5m of those.
Clearly, the events of 2020 did not help the physical distribution of newspapers. There has been an overall drop of a further 22% in paid-for newspaper sales in the last year. We estimate that overall paid-for circulation for daily national newspapers dropped below 4m