LONDON: A free customer magazine published by Tesco, the retailer, has surpassed The Sun, the newspaper, to become the most read print title in the UK.
According to the National Readership Survey, the information provider, some 7.2m people now read the average issue of "Tesco" magazine, an 8% increase from October 2011 to September 2012.
"What's clear from these results is that right now, when it comes to print, branded content is king," said Helen Johnston, the publication's editor, as reported by the Financial Times.
By contrast, The Sun - long the biggest UK print publication - has 7.1m readers per issue, a total which has declined by 7% since October last year, and by nearly 20% during the last ten years.
Douglas McCabe, an analyst at Enders Analysis, the insights group, argued supermarket chains like Tesco were able to achieve such a position due to their "extraordinary store empires" nationwide.
In reflection of this trend, equivalent offerings from Asda and Sainsbury's, two other operators in the same sector, secured 6m and 3.4m readers in turn.
Your M&S, a similar title from Marks & Spencer, the apparel-to-food retailer, had an audience of 3.7m people on this metric, the NRS study added.
However, one core difference is that The Sun is published every day, whereas a new issue of Tesco magazine is released every two months, giving people more time to read it.
Indeed, data from NRS-PADD, looking at reading figures for the last month alone, showed The Sun has a monthly readership of 15.8m, versus 5.3m for Tesco magazine.
The NRS report, based on a per issue average, also did not include The Sun on Sunday, which boasts 6.1m readers, a significant addition to the audience for the remaining six days of the week.
Similarly, statistics from NRS-PADD revealed that 3.2m people accessed The Sun's website in October 2012, falling to 87k for Tesco magazine online.
It was also found that consumers dedicated 29 minutes to reading The Sun, an amount standing at just 16 minutes for Tesco magazine.
Data sourced from Financial Times, Paid Content; additional content by Warc staff