Metro overtakes Sun in UK weekday distribution, but Murdoch title still Britain’s best-selling paper

Metro has overtaken The Sun for the first time in terms of the average number of weekday copies the two titles distribute across the UK, new ABC figures for May show.

Free title the Metro has a total average UK distribution of 1,479,775, Monday to Friday, compared with the paid-for Sun’s 1,471,014.

The Sun’s total includes figures for Ireland, but Metro only distributes in England, Scotland and Wales. This is the first time the Sun has not had the biggest Monday to Friday UK distribution since 1978.

But, the Mudoch title still claims a larger overall circulation than the Metro and is the best-selling daily national newspaper in the UK with a total circulation – including Saturday and foreign sales – of 1,575,996.

Metro’s distribution rose by 10 per cent year-on-year in May, boosted by an 18 per cent year-on-year hike in the number of copies distributed across London alone.

Charlie Cox, Metro chief executive, said: “I’m extremely proud of the team that has taken Metro to the top spot. Becoming the number one national weekday newspaper demonstrates we are still delivering the right product to the right people, in the right place at the right time.”

Metro editor Ted Young added: “This is a massive milestone for Metro and testament to the product we put out in every major city every weekday morning.

“Our neutral political stance appears to be appreciated more than ever as we continue to provide all the information for our readers to make up their own mind, whilst getting equipped with all the latest world news, sports and showbiz before they start their working day.

“For as long as that appetite is there, we hope to satisfy it and remain the largest distributed newspaper in Britain.”

ABC figures for May also show The Sunday Times is the only paid-for newspaper to record real year-on-year circulation growth while the general decline in print sales across the UK news industry continues.

The Sunday title’s circulation was up by 1 per cent year-on-year, after bulk copies were removed from the total, putting it at 702,410, up from 693,613 last month.

Additional bulk copies helped boost the Times’ total circulation to 4 per cent year-on-year, but once these were removed from the total the paper actually recorded a 1.5 per cent decline in circulation.

Mirror nationals continued to record a significant fall in circulation year-on-year.

The Sunday Mirror was down 20 per cent to 562,962, the Daily Mirror and Sunday People were both down 17 per cent to 646,179 and 223,907 respectively.

The steepest circulation fall was the Daily Star Sunday, with fell 23 per cent year-on-year to 248,111.

National Scottish titles also recorded double-figure year-on-year decline.

Average circulation for UK daily and Sunday newspapers in May 20117 (source: ABC):

Publication Circulation

May 2017

% change month-on-month % change year-on-year Bulks
The Sun 1,575,996 -2.54 -8.2 119,668
Metro (free) 1,479,775 -0.02 9.95
Daily Mail 1,443,213 -0.75 -6.53 64,868
The Sun on Sunday 1,347,793 -0.78 -7.08 127,815
The Mail on Sunday 1,239,788 0.1 -8.24 60,748
London Evening Standard 903,334 2.85 0.04
The Sunday Times 802,912 2.97 3.22 100,502
Daily Mirror 646,179 -5.94 -17.01 1,043
Sunday Mirror 562,962 -3.78 -20.48
The Daily Telegraph 479,271 2.5 -2.35 62,102
The Times 456,925 2.51 4.28 98,873
Daily Star 429,378 -1.96 -15.62
Daily Express 381,705 -1.19 -8.03
The Sunday Telegraph 355,492 0.19 -4.16 34,323
Sunday Express 335,129 -0.09 -7.5
i 267,092 1.24 -6.52 57,490
Daily Star – Sunday 248,111 -1.86 -22.67
Sunday People 223,907 -1.81 -17.12
Financial Times 195,167 -0.95 -1.63 21,750
The Observer 177,670 -2.1 -6.04
Sunday Mail 157,331 -1.59 -16.15
The Guardian 153,163 -0.55 -7.57
Daily Record 147,583 -1.54 -14.54
Sunday Post 136,388 -1.55 -12.05 538
City AM (free) 90,894 0.37 -6.56