Evening Standard's ABC1 Readership Overtakes The Guardian
The performance of the London Evening Standard was one of the few bright spots in a generally gloomy set of NRS readership figures for the quality newspapers.The move from 'paid for' to free which has so dramatically increased the newspaper's circulation has also led to a dramatic rise in readership for the 12 month period to March '10 when compared with the same period last year. Readership overall was up 120% to 1.3m, and its ABC1 readership increased even more sharply, up 124% to just over 1m - overhauling the Guardian's reported readership of just short of 1m for the same period.In terms of the quality daily press, the Guardian was the biggest loser with a 7% fall in overall readership. The rest of the quality market saw falls of between 1-3% overall with the exception of the Financial Times, which posted a small rise (0.24%) and The Times which kept its readership on a par with the same period last year.The falls in ABC1 readership were more pronounced, with the Guardian falling 8%, the Telegraph falling 5% and the Mail and The Times 4% and 2% down respectively. Even the FT posted a 3% drop in ABC1 readers.In terms of the Sundays, the picture was more mixed with the Sunday Times and the Sunday Telegraph posting small increases of 1.4% and 0.1% respectively in overall readership, but all of the Mail on Sunday (-7%), the Independent on Sunday (-11%) and the Observer (-12%) posting significant falls. In terms of ABC1 readership, even the Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph saw small falls of close to 2% and 1% respectively.The Sunday supplements tended to post bigger readership falls than their host publications - perhaps a reflection of readers adopting more austere spending regimes and not wanting to be tempted. For example, You Magazine saw an overall readerhip fall of 9%, 2% higher than the readership drop for the Mail on Sunday - although it remained by far the most read women's sunday supplement with 4.5m readers, 2.7m of them ABC1 . The next most popular women's supplement, the Sunday Times' Style, saw a close to 4% fall to 2.2m readers (1.9m ABC1) and The Sunday Telegraph's Stella saw a 5% fall to just over 1m (0.9m ABC1).These latest NRS figures illustrate the continued decline of print, with readers probably switching online to economise. But with the exception of the Standard, most of the publications have held their relative positions in the readership 'pecking order'. However, recent investments by both the Observer, Mail and Independent in re-designs and/or advertising, and the news that the Mail on Sunday is to launch a new fashion and beauty supplement, demonstrate that newspapers haven't given up on print just yet.