The NRS readership data was released today and it shows definite patterns emerging in UK readership data. The research covers April 13 to March 14 and combines the traditional face-to-face research to determine the ‘print’ element and comscore data to determine the web portion of the research.

The first item you’ll notice is the proliferation of minuses in the Print +/- column showing the decline in print readership in the past twelve months with the Guardian group falling the most. The rest of the qualities managed to save some face – but only relative to the Guardian fall.

The readership trouble at the Guardian is further compounded by a fall in their web visitors meaning that both channels to readers are in decline. The Mail/Mail on Sunday also suffered a decline in numbers in both print and digital. The Sun’s sharp decline in web traffic is because we are measuring paywall only visitors now as opposed to and non paywall visitors previously.               

Interestingly, the numbers migrating to popular newspapers websites is particularly strong. Last time out the Mirror was looking at a brand footprint increase of about 10% when digital was added. This survey they can expect to increase their footprint by 25%+ when the digital element is included.

Digital has suddenly become a force to be reckoned with in the popular market and is a double edged sword. My personal view on this is that capable technology for reading newsbrands online is being adopted at a much faster pace in the popular readers’ strata now as opposed to one and two years ago. It could be the price of technology and a realisation that you can get the papers free every morning! But there’s definitely a move from print to online in the popular market.  

The more worrying aspect overall is that combining the print and web traffic, on a daily basis none of the papers have fared better than the year before – all papers bar the Telegraph have lost ‘combined’ readership. The readership losses in print are not being outweighed by gains on their digital platforms meaning that news is being sourced elsewhere (aggregators perhaps) or that some apathy towards news has set in.

The FT was not surveyed this time around. Is this the metric on which they want to be measured – clearly not. They have made great headway with their digital first strategy and perhaps the NRS survey is not the currency they wish to deal in at this point.

Title(s) 2014      2013     Difference   
  Print Web Totai + Online   Print Web Total   Print +/- Web +/- Total
Print Title(s) 000s 000s 000s %   000s 000s 000s   000s 000s  
The Daily Telegraph 1313 812 2125 61.9   1352 742 2094   -3% 9% 1%
Daily/Sunday Telegraph 1371 810 2182 59.1   1428 740 2168   -4% 10% 1%
The Guardian 793 1278 2071 161.2   1027 1289 2316   -23% -1% -11%
Guardian/Observer 856 1273 2129 148.8   1097 1280 2377   -22% -1% -10%
The Independent/i 853 474 1327 55.6   443 459 902   92% 3% 47%
Independent/IoS/i 883 471 1354 53.4   997 450 1446   -12% 5% -6%
The Times 1155 36 1191 3.1   1300 35 1334   -11% 5% -11%
Times/Sunday Times 1388 44 1432 3.2   1569 43 1612   -12% 3% -11%
                         
Mid-market                        
Daily Express 1114 99 1214 8.9   1157 63 1220   -4% 57% 0%
Daily/Sunday Express 1177 99 1276 8.4   1269 63 1332   -7% 57% -4%
Daily Mail 4074 1959 6032 48.1   4245 1987 6232   -4% -1% -3%
Daily Mail/MoS 4340 1936 6276 44.6   4528 1966 6494   -4% -2% -3%
                         
Popular                        
Daily Mirror 2309 621 2930 26.9   2856 293 3149   -19% 112% -7%
Daily/Sunday Mirror 2449 620 3069 25.3   3029 292 3321   -19% 112% -8%
Daily/Sun Mirror/People 2511 619 3129 24.6   3128 291 3420   -20% 112% -9%
Daily Record 688 91 779 13.2   783 50 833   -12% 80% -6%
Record/Sunday Mail  748 90 838 12   842 50 892   -11% 79% -6%
Daily Star 1090 77 1166 7   1279 21 1299   -15% 274% -10%
Daily/Star Sunday  1137 77 1214 6.8   1312 21 1332   -13% 274% -9%
The Sun 5685 88 5773 1.6   6707 581 7289   -15% -85% -21%
The Sun/Sunday 5947 88 6035 1.5   6970 573 7543   -15% -85% 20%