LONDON: Metro, the free newspaper distributed in a number of cities across the UK, has recorded its highest readership ever, according to the latest data from the National Readership Survey.

Half-year figures report an increase of 13% year-on-year for the Associated Newspapers title, with reader levels rising to 3.69 million between January and June.

News International's the London Paper saw an identical percentage increase, despite plans to cease printing on September 16.

Three Sunday newspapers suffered a drop in readership over the first six months of 2009 with the Independent on Sunday hit by a 20% fall to 606,000.

Trinity Mirror Group's The People dropped 13% year-on-year; to 1.4 million, while The News of the World, owned by News International, remained the most popular Sunday title with a 1% readership increase to 7.7 million.

In the magazine sector, monthly publications saw the biggest growth over the six month period.

Bauer Media's Empire recorded an increase of 870,000 readers, while music title Q magazine rose by 35% to 674,000.

So-called 'lad's mags' did less well though with both the IPC Media-owned Nuts and Bauer Media's Zoo seeing significant six-month declines.

While women's weekly Hello! was down 18% year-on-year; to 1.6 million, National Magazine's  Cosmopolitan saw a rise of 10% to 1.7 million.

Data sourced from Marketing; additional content by WARC staff