Newspaper circulations rise after Fairfax compact relaunch but News Limited wins bragging rights

The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald have both seen a jump in sales since moving to compact format – but News Limited saw even bigger rises, early numbers suggest.

According to the unaudited figures passed to Mumbrella, the intense competition between News Limited and Fairfax benefited the newspaper sector as a whole, with print sales in NSW up by 5 per cent in the first week of the relaunch and 3 per cent in the next week. In Victoria, sales were up by three per cent and two per cent.

In numerical terms, News Limited – which countered Fairfax’s move with an advertising blitz and street vendors along with some strong stories – was the bigger winner overall.

In NSW in the week beginning March 4, The Daily Telegraph saw a rise in sale 55,000 copies compared to the week before, while the Herald sold an additional 46,000 copies.

In Victoria, Fairfax’s The Age had the bigger jump in the first week. Despite the Herald Sun’s exclusives which helped bring about the resignation of Premier Ted Baillieu, The Age saw an uplift of 48,000 copies compared with its rival which rose by 20,000 copies.

The following week, The Daily Telegraph was up 46,000 copies compared with a fortnight before, while the Herald Sun was up 26,000 copies. Meanwhile Fairfax’s The Age was up 13,000 copies compared with before the change in format while the Herald was up 18,000 copies.

News Limited did not comment on the numbers but Fairfax’s Metro editorial director Garry Linnell told Mumbrella: “I haven’t seen those numbers, but it’s very fair to say we have been taken aback by the response. We’ve seen a significant lift in retail outlets at commuter points like train stations and airports and the overall reaction from readers has been fantastic.”

Nic Christensen 


  1. Wayne
    26 Mar 13
    1:18 pm

  2. Print is back! Digital is dead! (Just joking)

  3. Lynne
    26 Mar 13
    1:56 pm

  4. maybe you’re right Wayne, people always like a story that’s fact checked

  5. Corey
    26 Mar 13
    2:02 pm

  6. And since when have we been able to believe circulation numbers when it comes to these guys?

  7. Kimberly Diamonds
    26 Mar 13
    2:12 pm

  8. Jeez… a whole 5%, I don’t get out of bed for less than 10

  9. Groucho
    26 Mar 13
    2:14 pm

  10. It is people buying two papers instead of one to get enough paper to wrap the rubbish.

  11. James (1)
    26 Mar 13
    2:40 pm

  12. Sounds very much like a paramedic maintaining CPR until the doctor arrives and pronounces the patient dead. We’re just waiting for the Doc!

  13. Diner
    26 Mar 13
    5:24 pm

  14. Fish and Chips are in demand…

  15. Ann
    26 Mar 13
    8:09 pm

  16. Yes people need to store theri papers for winter fires to save on electricity and gas

  17. Old romantic
    27 Mar 13
    10:09 am

  18. Why do people media folk not like newspapers? Is it because circulation is declining? If so, wouldn’t we therefore dislike old people? Seems odd to revel in the decline of a medium that has contributed so much to society for hundreds of years. Of course it’s days are numbered…in time… But as an industry do we have to be so pleased about it?

  19. P
    27 Mar 13
    12:38 pm

  20. Well said Old Romantic. If those who constantly parrot “newspapers are dead” are to suddenly find themselves in the newspaper tomorrow, they will then understand how “alive” newspapers are!

  21. Spiel
    27 Mar 13
    1:29 pm

  22. Old Romantic and P: ye need not worry. Marketers have never been the audience and will only discover a medium after someone surveys it. That said, it is certainly true that newspapers invite cynicism on the circulation data front. And In this case, my guess is that both publishers have been putting a little extra air in their tyres for reasons to with their evident reciprocal death wish.

  23. shamma
    27 Mar 13
    1:45 pm

  24. I’ve never understood the masses of digital people just waiting for newspapers to die so they can dance on their graves. it’s like they were all wronged by Fairfax and News in some way and are desperate to get even with them.

  25. zumabeach
    27 Mar 13
    2:52 pm

  26. Yeah, kill off newspapers and old farts who buy them immediately – then we’ll have so much more time for all those really interesting sites where yummy mummies talk about PMT and young cool fools tell us about how the new whiz bang communication device they paid over the odds for yesterday is so much better than the one they paid over the odds for two months ago.

  27. Steve
    28 Mar 13
    12:25 am

  28. The Telegraph has always had higher print circulation so taking that into consideration isn’t it possible that percentage-wise Fairfax had the higher jump? As mentioned in the article, the Tele has also been on a massive advertising spree for the last year or so – far more than Fairfax, even counting for the relaunch marketing.

    Additionally, if these are just circulation figures, it’s important to factor in Fairfax’s intentional reduction in promotional copies – thereby heavily reducing circulation. The Tele meanwhile has been handing out free copies left, right and centre. Sporting matches, easter show, carnivals… everywhere.

  29. Inky McFee
    28 Mar 13
    3:13 pm

  30. So this article suggests good marketing and strong journalism may have led to increased circulation? Outrageous!!