Scottish city newspapers suffer sales decline

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Image caption,
The Herald, The Scotsman and the Daily Record all saw sales decline

Mid-market newspapers controlled from London fared better in Scotland last month, as main city papers north of the border faced a sharp decline.

The Daily Express and Daily Mail put on circulation, even though they were falling across the UK as a whole.

While the Express lost 8% of its UK sales in the year to September, its Scottish edition last month put on nearly 2,000 copies to 73,000.

The latest figures were released by the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC).

The Mail was up nearly 1,500 in Scotland, at more than 117,000, while its sister paper, the Mail on Sunday, went up from 97,000 to 100,000.

With big problems across the newspaper industry, it is rare to see increased circulation. Scottish-based national newspapers had been falling faster than their London rivals, but the trend was to slow up the decline during this year.

Steeper falls

The September figure suggested that Scottish-based papers are returning to steeper falls.

While the UK market for paid-for daily papers fell 1% from August to September, the September statistics showed The Herald, based in Glasgow, down more than 3% to 53,000, while The Scotsman, in Edinburgh, was down 6% to 43,000.

In the past year, The Scotsman's circulation has fallen 7% while The Herald has dropped 6%.

Another big faller was the Daily Record. Its total sales fell 2% last month to 324,000. Its average circulation was down 6% on the year.

The Record, which used to dominate the tabloid market, is now selling fewer than 300,000 copies on the average day in Scotland, while it also sells in some parts of England.

Its main rival, the Scottish Sun, was selling 340,000 last month, down from 361,000 in September 2009.

Circulation battle

Among English papers circulating in Scotland, the start of charging for online sites does not appear to have helped boost sales of the print editions of The Times or Sunday Times.

The Sunday Times in Scotland is down more than 10%, to below 62,000.

The Times is at risk of losing its Scottish circulation battle with the Daily Telegraph. The Times' sales are declining at a faster rate, and in September they fell below 23,000, while the Telegraph dropped by 1,400.

In the same publishing stable as The Times, the News of the World is seeing sharp falls in Scottish sales as well, down in the year to September from 306,000 to 268,000. Its rival, the Sunday Mail, fell from 381,000 to 356,000 in Scotland.

The appeal of reading newspapers online for free is one reason why the biggest fallers in print circulation over the past year have been the Daily Telegraph, down 17% across the UK, and The Guardian, down 14%.

Circulation numbers have been rounded to the nearest thousand. The Courier, Press & Journal and evening newspapers are not included in monthly ABC figures.

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