Independent holds up well as Times, Guardian and Telegraph circulations plummet

Who would have thought that the Independent, the runt of the UK broadsheet litter, would have put in almost the strongest circulation performance of the last six months?

True its figures dropped 3.61 per cent in the May-October period, falling to 182,412, but that was a very respectable achievement when set against the Times, down 14.4 per cent, the Guardian down 12.9 per cent and the Daily Telegraph down by a whopping 17.9 per cent.

Pundits have suggested that the launch in mid-October of the i, the tabloid daily digest priced at 20p, would cannibalise its older sister, but with the Independent's circulation holding virtually steady in that month, that doesn't seem to be happening yet.

In fact the i may be doing the broadsheet a favour by helping to build awareness of the Independent stable in general. In any case the enterprising launch of the i by Alexander Lebedev gives him more flexibility and room for manoeuvre when it comes to preserving the Independent brand through the tough times ahead for all print papers.

It's a indication of the high profile of business and financial events and issues in general that the only broadsheet to increase its circulation is the Financial Times, up 2.99 per cent to creep over 400,000, just weeks after gaining a 50 per cent rise in digital subscriptions.

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About David O'Reilly

David is a former deputy editor of Campaign and writer for a number of leading titles including Management Today and the Sunday Times. He is a partner in The Editorial Partnership.