This report looks at the UK national newspapers market as newspapers continue to adjust to perpetually declining print circulation numbers and explore ways of growing their digital presence and revenue.

Despite circulation declines print revenue remains the primary source of revenue for national newspapers, leaving publishers examining the best methods of fully monetising their digital products in a world where people are accustomed to obtaining online news for free. The last year has though yielded slightly more positive results for many of the big players, giving a more optimistic view of the role of national newspapers going forward.

Mintel last reported on this market in National Newspapers – UK, May 2014. This report examines the factors driving demand for national newspapers, looks at sales trends overall and by segment, assesses market shares, profiles the leading publishers and provides a consumer viewpoint concerning brand perception; it documents readership levels, devices used to access national news online, sites visited online and general attitudes towards national newspapers.


For the purposes of this report, national newspapers are defined as those newspapers that are circulated throughout the UK. There remains a lack of uniformity among the major monitoring bodies (the Newspaper Society and ABC) as to which titles should be included as nationals and which as regionals, but in most respects this report adheres to ABC practice.

From July 2006, The Sunday Post has been monitored by ABC, so it is now included in this report. For the same reason, the Daily Sport has been included between January 2008 and February 2009 and is excluded after that, while the Sunday Sport is excluded from March 2009. Similarly, The Herald and Sunday Herald were included until June 2012, while The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday were included until January 2012.

The term ‘circulation’ refers to the number of copies of a newspaper that are sold or delivered to consumers. ‘Readership’ refers to the number of consumers who read a newspaper and thus is higher with the addition of pass-on readers.

The report uses the ABC classifications of Popular, Mid-market and Quality throughout.

Currently, as monitored by ABC, the three sectors include the following titles:

Popular: Daily Mirror, Daily Star, Daily Record, The Sun, The Sun on Sunday, Daily Star Sunday, News of the World, Sunday People, Sunday Mail, Sunday Mirror. The News of the World was included in this category prior to its closure in July 2011.

Mid-market: Daily Mail, Daily Express, The Mail on Sunday, Sunday Express, The Sunday Post.

Quality: The Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, The Guardian, The Independent, i, The Times, Independent on Sunday, The Observer, The Sunday Telegraph, The Sunday Times.

Mintel classifies the London Evening Standard as a regional, as does the Newspaper Society, while the Metro titles are also classified as regionals.

Specialist national sports papers such as the Racing Post are excluded.

It is not possible to write about national newspapers without discussing their digital operations, including websites and apps for use on smartphones, tablets and e-readers. While these are excluded from the main market size table in this report (which relates to print edition sales only), data is provided on website visits for the purposes of comparison, and reference is made throughout the report to digital products such as apps since this is where much of the innovation in the market is taking place.


ABC Audit Bureau of Circulations
BBC British Broadcasting Corporation
CEO Chief Executive Officer
DMGT Daily Mail and General Trust
FT Financial Times
GNM Guardian News & Media
GPS Global Positioning System
HD High Definition
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