Telegraph Sales Fall Below 1m as Management Axes Freebies

10 October 2002

The avalanche of free and discounted copies distributed outside Britain and at domestic airports and railway stations by the Daily Telegraph in its circulation battle against Rupert Murdoch’s The Times came to an abrupt end on Monday after the latter last week called truce in its eight-year price war [WAMN: 01-Oct-02].

In abandoning its giveaway policy, the Telegraph’s daily ‘sales’ figure has crashed below the psychologically important one million mark for the first time since the price war began. Despite this, the newspaper’s management is heaving a sigh of relief.

Proprietor Lord Conrad Black said the ending of free and discounted distribution marked “time to restore the economics of the business”, while group chief executive Dan Colson crowed: “We have proved our point in the nonsensical price war and our circulation lead has been defended [against the aggressive pricing of The Times].”

The move will please advertisers and agencies, both of which have been highly critical of the newspaper industry’s practice of artificially boosting circulations with freebie copies.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff