THE journalist and broadcaster, Andrew Neil, believes The Herald and The Scotsman newspapers are – on the evidence of their sales figures – “in terminal decline”.
The former publisher of The Scotsman and editor of The Sunday Times was speaking ahead of the publication of newspaper sales figures today, by the Audit Bureau of Circulation.
Neil was interviewed by BBC Scotland journalist, Jamie McIvor, for a feature on last night’s Newsnight Scotland.
Said Neil: “Don’t forget, that the real strength – historically, not of the Aberdeen or the Dundee papers, but of The Scotsman and The Herald – is: We do what all the London papers do, we just do Scotland as well. And we’ll do it just as well, too. Given the revenue coming in, that is impossible. I do think they are in terminal decline and I cannot see any way in which it can be reversed.”
In a subsequent studio debate about newspapers, in general – hosted by Gordon Brewer – the director of the Scottish Newspaper Society, Jim Chisholm, said: “Circulations have been falling, readership has not been falling as fast,” referring to newspapers’ online readers, as revealed on Wednesday by the publication of the first-ever print+digital readership figures from the National Readership Survey.
Many of the sales drops in the current crop of circulation figures are double-digit, not least among Sunday tabloids, whose figures are returning broadly to the levels prior to the circulation boost they received from the demise of rival, the News of the World, in July last year.
Neither The Herald nor the Sunday Herald appear any more in the list, having requested to be regarded as regional titles.
Elsewhere, the relatively recently-launched The Scottish Sun on Sunday sold, last month, an average 213,957 copies. In July, it was an average 216,093; in June, an average 217,948 copies.
In summary, the daily newspapers figures – issued at midday – concern sales in Scotland between August 2011 and last month and reveal the following:
Daily Mirror – 12.9 per cent drop = from 24,875 on average in August 2011, to 21,664 last month;
Daily Record – 10.7 per drop = from 278,982 on average in August 2011, to 248,869 last month;
Daily Star of Scotland – 12.9 per cent drop = 65,714 to 57,185;
The Scottish Sun – 7.8 cent drop = 319,597 to 294,744;
Scottish Daily Express – 12.5 per cent drop = 66,171 to 57,896;
Scottish Daily Mail – 6.5 per cent drop = 112,419 to 105,155;
Daily Telegraph – 9.8 per cent drop = 22,172 to 19,747;
Financial Times – 23.9 per cent drop = 3,761 to 2,862;
The Guardian – 19.8 per cent drop = 15,480 to 12,411;
i – 32 per cent up = 13,415 to 17,710;
Independent – 53.7 per cent drop = 8,172 to 3,783;
The Scotsman – 14.6 per cent drop = 42,056 to 35,895; and
The Times – 15.6 per cent drop = 23,775 to 20,071.
Meanwhile, the Sunday titles’ sales figures in Scotland were as follows:
Daily Star of Scotland – Sunday – 41.2 per cent down = 61,952 to 36,426;
Sunday Mail – 26.1 per cent down = 387,383 to 286,383;
Sunday Mirror – 50.7 per cent down = 45,926 to 22,609;
The People – 62.1 per cent down = 30,645 to 11,601;
Scottish Sunday Express – 25.4 per cent down = 45,936 to 34,254;
The Sunday Post – 19 per cent drop = 230,162 to 186,438;
Scottish Mail on Sunday – 15.3 per cent down = 109,720 to 92,931;
Independent on Sunday – 18.4 per cent down = 7,999 to 6,529;
The Observer – 13.2 per cent down = 19,419 to 16,852;
Scotland on Sunday – 22.7 per cent down = 53,420 to 41,300;
Sunday Telegraph – 11.1 cent down = 20,224 to 17,975; and
Sunday Times – 14.4 per cent down = 61,499 to 52,619.