December circulation figures for Britain’s newspapers, released earlier this week by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, show a particularly bad year for the tabloids.

The ‘red-tops’ – the Daily Star, The Mirror, The Sun (all national) and the Daily Record (Scotland) – saw circulation drop 1.4% over the year between them.

This comes in spite of a 10% surge in the Star’s December figures, up from 632,439 twelve months before to 696,029, attributed by media observers to investment by owner Richard Desmond and a penchant for using the front page to follow the exploits of ‘glamour’ model Jordan.

The Mirror, acclaimed for its conversion to ‘serious’ news after September 11, still fell 1.39% compared with December 2000 to little over 2 million, while things were even worse at the Sun, which tumbled 3.81% to 3.3m, suffering the worst fall since Rupert Murdoch acquired the title in 1969.

The middle market also slipped, as The Express (also owned by Desmond) fell 9.43% to 0.86m and the Daily Mail edged down 0.66% to 2.3m.

Among broadsheets, the Daily Telegraph was down 1.14% (0.96m), The Times down 1.71% (0.65m), The Guardian up 0.89% (0.38m) and The Independent down 0.08% (0.19m).

News source: