Royal Baby Birth Highlights Travails of the UK’s Printed Press
The UK has borne witness to a number of major newsworthy events in the past couple of years. The Summer Olympics in London last August generated numerous headlines, while the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee earlier that year also saw a great deal of media buzz. But July 22, 2013, saw possibly the biggest event of all—the eagerly anticipated arrival of HRH Prince George.
Such events, and particularly royal events, tend to lead to a boost in circulation figures for the printed newspaper press. Souvenir editions, in particular, are always popular, and such editions featuring the royal baby were no exception. As reported by the UK’s The Guardian newspaper, industry sources indicated uplifts for most dailies, with The Times seeing the largest uptick of 50,000 copies the day after, a 15% increase compared with a typical weekday. But some other publications fared less well, with week-on-week rises of between just 1% and 5%.
The state of the printed press in the UK also needs to be taken into consideration. According to data from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, daily newspaper circulation in Great Britain dropped by 26.6% between 2008 and 2012, among the largest declines worldwide.
Despite the uptick for the royal birth announcement, the UK print press’ poor health is starkly highlighted by comparing visits to online news sites around the birth. According to data from Experian, on Monday, July 22, there were 94 million visits in the UK made to news and media sites, up 22% on the previous Monday.
A report from Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism provided further evidence of the challenges faced by the printed news press. Its “Digital News Report 2013,” conducted by YouGov, detailed daily time spent accessing news sources by UK internet users across age demographics. Outside the over-45 age groups, which were predictably the biggest readers of print, time spent with printed publications fell some way behind digital sources, particularly computers. Even tablets, which are yet to reach the hands of many UK consumers, showed good engagement across the age demographics. Read more at eMarketer.