January in numbers: the dailies

by Jack McCormick

1st February 2018

In 1993, Rupert Murdoch—the man who arguably defined the ‘media mogul’ moniker—launched a price war between his Times newspaper and its broadsheet rival, the Daily Telegraph. As he tried to reduce the one-million-copy gap between the two, Murdoch dropped The Times’ cover price by a third, from 45p to 30p.

Now, 25 years later, The Times has outsold its old adversary for the first time.

According to the most recent ABCs – the monthly figures released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations – the Daily Telegraph has seen a 14.2 per cent decline to 393,000 copies, meaning it now shifts fewer copies than The Times (which rose 1.3 per cent to 446,200).

The numbers are skewed somewhat by the Telegraph’s decision to no longer count bulk discounts and freebies as ‘sales’ (which would in fact put the Telegraph 40,000 ahead), but a victory for Murdoch no less.

There was good news, too, for the Guardian, which was reporting figures for the last time before its move to a tabloid format. It saw a 3.3 per cent increase in circulation, while the Financial Times and Daily Mail were up 2.4 per cent and 0.8 per cent respectively.

Other notable changes include the i falling 0.9 per cent, the Daily Mirror down 1 per cent and the Sun—still (just) Britain’s best-selling newspaper—down 0.8 per cent.