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EU referendum boosts newspapers' print circulation and online traffic

Print circulation and online traffic figures surged in the wake of the EU referendum, as people turned to newspaper coverage for live updates, editorial analysis and informed opinion.

Following last week's referendum and the resulting resignation of David Cameron, national newspapers saw large increases in circulation over the course of the weekend with an average uplift of seven per cent on expected sales of Saturday editions1. The increased audience was also reflected by a swell in online traffic figures as people turned to newspapers' content to stay up-to-date with rolling blogs and deeper analysis on the implications of Brexit.

The Times' Saturday edition sold an additional 100,000 copies (+18% week on week) making it its biggest selling paper of the year, while on Friday (24 June), the London Evening Standard's circulation exceeded the million mark for the first time. It was the paper's best Friday and Monday (27 June) performance since it became a free title.

The Guardian saw a record 17 million unique browsers and 77 million page view on Friday, while print sales for both the Guardian and The Observer also increased significantly over the weekend.

Similarly, The Telegraph almost doubled its previous online day record with 16.3 million unique users, while its share of 18-34 year olds went up by 9 per cent. On the same day, the title saw a print uplift of 11 per cent, making it its best day of the year. 

Estimates from Trinity Mirror suggest that Saturday's edition of the Daily Mirror was its biggest since the Grand National issue back in April and the publisher also saw rises in its Sunday titles. Meanwhile, the i  saw circulation peaks of 302,000 and 308,000 on Friday and Saturday respectively.

Ian Whittaker, head of European media research at Liberum, said: "The EU Referendum should be positive for newspapers as businesses. In the short-term, it will have helped to boost circulation revenues given the huge public demand for in-depth news and analysis of the Brexit vote and its consequences; and in the medium to long-term, it will be taken as a demonstration of how much influence newspapers still have, which is a persuasive argument to use with advertisers.

"Media agencies already recognise that newspapers offer greater engagement with their readers than any other form of media. The result of the Brexit vote is likely to reinforce that perception as well as the view that the press can reach viewers in a way that social media and digital cannot. In that regard, it may persuade advertisers that print has more value than realised, especially given the questions being raised about online media at the moment."

On social media, newsbrands were dominant on Twitter with the UK's most tweeted Brexit story of the week being a Guardian column by Nick Cohen (also the fifth most tweeted story on any topic globally), which attracted 31,800 tweets2. This was followed by Boris Johnson's first article following the referendum result, which was published by The Telegraph and attracted 30,340 tweets. Both articles attracted more tweets than the BBC's story on the Prime Minister's resignation announcement, according to NewsWhip.

Regional newspapers experienced similar growth with The Scotsman’s print sales growing by 17 per cent on Saturday and 18 per cent on Sunday. Its website registered a traffic rise of 82 per cent on Friday and 51 per cent on Sunday.

1. The unaudited figures were from a News Media Association survey of national titles published by members: Guardian News & Media, dmg media, Trinity Mirror, News UK, Telegraph Media Group and Johnston Press

2. NewsWhipSpike data for the week prior to 12.30pm on 28 June 2016

For more information please contact:

Jessie Sampson
jessie.sampson@newsworks.org.uk
020 77472126

Paul Sinker
paul@newsmediauk.org
020 7963 7490

29/06/16

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