Readership levels for The Herald and The Scotsman newspapers have fallen by at least a fifth during the last 12 months or so.
Says the National Readership Survey, which questions newspaper and magazine consumers on their reading habits, between October last year and September this year, there were an average 131,000 readers of The Scotsman and 145,000 readers of The Herald – inevitably a lot higher than the sales of each of the papers, which – according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation – were last at 41,758 and 52,642, respectively.
However, compared to the 12 months before, the readership was down. Between October two years ago and September last year, The Scotsman readership was measured at 177,000, while The Herald's was 181,000 – in other words a drop of 26 per cent for the former and 20 per cent for the latter.
The NRS figures – which come out quarterly – provide Scots figures only for The Scotsman, The Herald, the Press and Journal, The Courier and the Evening Times; all the other newspaper titles available in Scotland have only UK-wide readership figures.
The P&J's readership is estimated at 207,000 (down two per cent on the previous 12 months), The Courier's is 168,000 (down eight per cent on the previous 12 months) and the Evening Times' is 151,000 (also down eight per cent).
Earlier this year, the managing director of the Herald & Times Group, which publishes both The Herald and the Evening Times, was quoted questioning the veracity of the previous set of NRS figures, which had suggested a 39 per cent readership fall between July last year and 12 months later.