As people throughout the UK continue to find alternative sources to consume news, newspaper circulation has fallen across the board.
Of the ten most popular newspapers in the country, the Sunday Mirror is the worst hit with a circulation drop of 14%.
However, it is not all doom and gloom for print media and the medium is still an integral part of how British people consume the news. The Sun and The Sun on Sunday command a combined readership of over two and a half million readers while the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday print circulation is at just over two million. To help you navigate the UK’s most popular newspapers, here at MediaHQ we’ve put together a list of the top ten print publications.
Metro tops the list as the UK’s highest circulation paper, proving that the most popular things in life are free. The weekday paper carries no charge and is distributed on buses and trains, at stations and hospitals, and to pedestrians across Britain. Metro is owned by DMGT, the same group that own Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday. However unlike the Mail, Metro has traditionally taken a neutral political stance in its reporting and is not affiliated with any political party.
The Sun is a tabloid published in the UK and Ireland and had held the top spot as the UK’s highest circulation paper until March 2018 when it was usurped by Metro. Published by News Group Newspapers, itself owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, The Sun is a politically Conservative publication. Regional editions of the newspaper for Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland are published in Glasgow (The Scottish Sun), Belfast (The Sun) and Dublin (The Irish Sun) respectively.
The Daily Mail is a tabloid newspaper owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust and, like The Sun, has a Conservative leaning. While content from the paper often appears on the MailOnline website, the website is managed separately and has its own editor, Martin Clarke. The daily newspaper is published in London but has a Scottish (Scottish Daily Mail) and Irish (Irish Daily Mail) edition too.
The Sun on Sunday was launched in February 2012 to replace the defunct News of the World that was closed down following revelations of phone hacking. A number of senior editorial staff from News of the World even taking roles at its successor. The Sun on Sunday is the most popular Sunday newspaper in the UK and has a separate editor to that of its sister paper, The Sun.
The Mail on Sunday was launched in 1982 by the British newspaper magnate, Lord Rothermere. Like its sister paper, the Daily Mail, the Mail on Sunday is a conservative newspaper published in a tabloid format, however the editorial staffs of the two papers are entirely separate. In 2016, The Mail On Sunday came out in favour of the remain case in the EU referendum campaign, warning it is “not the time to risk the peace and prosperity” of the UK.
The Evening Standard is a local tabloid newspaper, published Monday to Friday in London. It is owned by Russian businessman and oligarch Alexander Lebedev. In 2009, the Evening Standard became a free newspaper effectively doubling its circulation. The paper is edited by former UK Conservative MP, George Osborne, who initiated a rebrand of the paper that included 'London' being dropped from the title and the addition of emojis to the paper’s masthead.
The Sunday Times is UK’s largest selling broadsheet newspaper. It is published by Times Newspapers Ltd (which also publishes The Times), a subsidiary of News UK, which is in turn owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. The paper publishes a number of annual surveys and league tables including The Sunday Times Rich List, The Sunday Times Bestseller List of books in Britain, and an annual league table of the best-performing state British and Irish universities.
The Daily Mirror is a British national tabloid newspaper published daily. It is owned by Reach plc. (formerly Trinity Mirror) who also own The Sunday People, as well as the Scottish Sunday Mail and Daily Record. Breaking with the trend of the majority of the newspapers that have made up the list so far, the Daily Mirror is politically aligned with Labour and has consistently endorsed the centre-left party in general elections.
The Sunday Mirror is the sister paper of the Daily Mirror and both are edited by Lloyd Embley. The paper was started in 1915, when it was the Sunday Pictorial, and was renamed the Sunday Mirror in 1963.
The Times is a daily national newspaper based in London. It is the sister paper of The Sunday Times, although the papers were founded separately and do not share editorial staff or websites. The Times, commonly referred to as The London Times internationally, was the first newspaper to bear the now ubiquitous ‘Times’ in its name and was also the originator of the widely used Times Roman typeface.
(*Circulation figures are based on the Audit Bureau of Circulation’s report for November, 2018.)
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More About Jack Jack is a media innovator with over 20 years’ experience at the most senior level in the Irish communications industry. He has worked in marketing, journalism, and media relations. He is a former political spokesperson and government advisor, as well as an award-winning corporate PR practitioner. Connect With Jack