ABC Newspaper Sales – a breakdown

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It’s as good a time as any to examine the underlying conditions that account for newspaper sales in the ABC circulation figures and this month (May 2016) we have the whole spectrum of allowables in the various publications.

Below is a table the papers who have “sales” that fall into categories other than single copy retails sales – i.e. sales that are occurring outside your normal retail environment. These are perfectly legitimate and come with some strict caveats set out by the ABC.

Your normal Sale is “A copy sold to a retailer, on a sale or return basis, for resale as a single copy to a consumer”. Perfectly straightforward.

Subscriptions: “A single copy sold and distributed to an individual or organisation for a contracted period”. Again easily understood.

Multiple copies: Now this is where the ‘conspiracy theories’ about circulations numbers begin with comments like “sure, don’t they just give them away anyway”. Multiple copies are marshalled by the ABC to and a full account of them is given in the monthly ABC certificates.

The definition: “Copies purchased by a third party from the publisher, delivered and made available for pick up or receipt by consumers”. So, you’re in, say, a hotel and on the counter at reception is a bundle of Irish Independents which you’re allowed to pick up, compliments of the hotel, read and takeaway. There are a large body of rules governing this area which is really too much for this sitting.

In May 2016, the Irish Daily Mail was the biggest user of Multiple Copy sales at just over 4,000 copies for the month. In their certificate for the month it’s impossible to ascertain exactly where those 4,000 copies went because the multiple figure in the certificate is for all editions: RoI and UK and Ireland can’t be broken out. Below is a ‘grab’ from their May Certificate showing just what the 46,173 is made up of.

DM breakdown

Below Full Rate is exactly that editions below the normal cover price. The Sun and Sunday Sun are €0.50 for the duration of Euro 2016 and they declared a ‘below full rate’ figure in their certificates this month as the promotion started at the end of May for two days where they were retailing at €0.50 and therefore were below full rate.

ProductFull RateBelow FullSubsMultiple
Daily Mail41,154100 4,043
The Sun52,0873,996 1,993
Financial Times2,107  127
The Times2,589  2
Daily Mirror39,001   
Daily Record281   
Daily Star46,385199  
Daily Express2,485   
Daily Mail16 7 
The Daily Telegraph2,334   
The Guardian2,15035  
The Mail on Sunday73,171  2,801
The Sun on Sunday39,99715,521 2,144
Daily Star – Sunday15,386   
Sunday Mail756   
Sunday Mirror26,140   
Sunday People9,705   
Sunday Express2,973   
Sunday Post778 3 
The Observer4,239   
The Sunday Telegraph1,956   
The Sunday Times73,419   

The table above only shows the papers that issue certificates monthly.