Newspaper readership boost for Scots quartet

FOUR Scottish newspapers are among several to have enjoyed an uplift in their readership over the last few months, despite being part of a widespread drift downwards in sales.

And according to the National Readership Survey which, among other things, interviews adults in their homes about their newspaper and magazine readership habits, The Herald saw its readership rise, between January and December last year, by seven per cent compared to the year before, 2010.

In other words, readership up from an average 144,000 to an average 154,000 per copy.

The other Scots titles to have also enjoyed an uplift are The Scotsman, the Daily Record and its Sunday sister, the Sunday Mail.

All the readership figures supplied here are UK-wide, since titles produced north of the border do sell – to varying degrees – elsewhere in the UK.

Readership is always bigger than sales because, often, a single copy of a newspaper is read by more than one person. By way of comparison, average sales in Scotland of The Herald were – according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation – 51,286 in December 2010 and then 46,215 in December last year.

Less dramatic, but still positive, The Scotsman’s readership was up three per cent, between Jan-Dec 2010 and Jan-Dec 2011: from 134,000 to 137,000. Its average sale in Scotland in December 2010 was 40,658, compared to 38,159 12 months later.

While the Record’s Jan-Dec 2011 figure was down – by one per cent – on 12 months previously (from 884,000 to 878,000), its figure for the second half of last year was up four per cent on 12 months before: from 839,000 between July-Dec 2010 to 876,000 between July-Dec 2011.

In a similar vein, Sunday sister, the Sunday Mail, saw its Jan-Dec 2011 figure down, also by one per cent, on 12 months before (from 1,067,000 to 1,061,000) but its figure for the second half of last year up by three per cent, from 1,046,000 to 1,072,000.

While there are no specific figures for The Scottish Sun, the UK-wide edition of the paper saw its Jan-Dec 2011 readership average fall by three per cent on 12 months previously (from 7,722,000 to 7,480,000) and its July-Dec 2011 figure down five per cent on the same six-month period 12 months previously (from 7,592,000 to 7,186,000).

Some media commentators will be no doubt speculating on the readership impact on The Sun following the closure in July of sister title, the News of the World, amid allegations of phone-hacking.

Of the other Scottish newspaper titles featuring in the NRS survey, the Press and Journal saw its Jan-Dec 2011 readership figure down seven per cent on 12 months before (from 187,000 to 175,000), The Courier’s down four per cent (from 165,000 to 159,000) and the Evening Times’ down two per cent (from 152,000 to 150,000).

It was less cheering news for Scotland on Sunday (down 16 per cent, from 188,000 to 158,000) and the Sunday Herald (down 13 per cent, from 155,000 to 134,000).