Whisper It Quietly... Newspapers Are Still Alive

Newspapers dying? Don't you believe it. What is changing, though, is the way people read newspapers.

The latest circulaton figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations for printed paper versions of the daily papers are predictably going south:

The Sun - 2.582m in 2012 (down from 3.001m in 2011);

Daily Mail - 1.945m (2.136m)

Mirror - 1.102 (1.194m)

Daily Star - 617,082 (734,311)

Daily Telegraph 578,774 (651,184)

Daily Express 577,543 (639,875)

The Times 397,549 (457,250)

Financial Times 316,493 (383,067)

i newspaper 264,432 (133,472)

The Guardian 215,988 (279,308)

The Independent 105,160 (185,035)

Readership, as opposed to the circulation figures above, is quite different and some newspapers still contend that up to four people in a household will read one copy of a printed newspaper. Whether that's true or not (and it sounds unlikely to me) the trend is clear - printed newspapers are on the wane.

But ABC's online newspaper circulation figures show a very different story.

Measuring unique browser access of the newspapers' websites (so therefore not counting individuals who access the same website twice or more on the same day) the following revelations appear:

- Daily Mail website's daily access is now over 7 million unique browsers;

- The Guardian is second on 3.961m daily;

- Daily Telegraph 2.978m;

- Sun 1.560m;

- Independent 853,000;

- Mirror 797,000.

The Times and FT, of course, have paywall sites so cannot be counted in the same way.

What does this prove? Nothing in particular, of course, except that the idea of a newspaper still being a trusted source of news or features or information appears to be holding firm despite the move to digital and despite the shenanigans that led to the Leveson inquiry.

There is still little research regarding 'section readers' (that is, how many read the printed or online property supplements, for example) but one message appears firm: newspapers aren't dead yet - they're just changing format.

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