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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 

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