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Brexit boosts UK newspaper sales

News, 25 July 2016

LONDON: Almost all national newspapers in the UK posted improved sales figures in June in a sign of the public's increased appetite for news about the referendum on European Union membership, new data have shown.

The historic vote to leave the EU took place on 23 June and the issue dominated the news agenda throughout the month, which has been reflected in the latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC).

According to the newspaper auditing body, some 2.7m extra national newspapers were sold last month compared with May and the Guardian and the Times were the biggest winners, increasing their readership by 3.63% and 2.51% respectively.

"Consumers turn to trusted brands – essentially the BBC and the opinionated newspapers – at times of crisis or when a deeper commentary is desired," said Douglas McCabe, an analyst with Enders, in comments to the Financial Times.

"We may think of social media and TV debates as being the critical media for the referendum, but in many ways this was a newspaper event," he added.

According to the Guardian, other major newspapers that saw increased circulation included a number of Sunday titles, such as the Observer (+8.42%), the Sunday Times (+3.67%) and the Sunday Telegraph (+3.23%).

The Daily Telegraph increased its circulation by a more modest 1.12%, the Daily Mail added just 0.28%, although its Sunday stablemate, the Mail on Sunday, fared slightly better with 0.75% compared to May.

Publishers also will be encouraged by separate ABC figures for online readership, which showed the Mail Online's monthly digital traffic rose 7.88% to more than 15m.

The Guardian's digital site, theguardian.com, was confirmed as the second-largest online news site in the UK with 10.3m daily browsers (+15.48%), followed by the Telegraph (+29.5% to 5.6m) and Mirror Group (+8.38% to just over 5m).

However, the Independent recorded the biggest monthly rise of 43.77%, taking its total of unique daily browsers to 4.38m. Interestingly, this followed the newspaper's decision to go digital-only as recently as March.

Data sourced from Financial Times, Guardian; additional content by Warc staff