The newspaper industry in the United Kingdom has had a difficult time over the last few decades. Fewer households are purchasing print news publications, and expenditure on newspapers fell from 4.45 billion British pounds in 2005 to under 2.8 billion GBP in 2020. National newspaper circulation in the UK has been declining for years and fell below one million copies in 2020 even among leading brands like The Daily Mail. The circulation of leading regional daily newspapers also dropped year-on-year, and in the first half of 2021 only one such publication reported a circulation of over 30 thousand.

The decline in newspaper readership

The share of consumers in Great Britain aged 16 or older reading news online increased by 50 percent between 2007 and 2020. The internet was one of the main sources of news in the United Kingdom according to a survey held in 2021, whereas the share of respondents who got most of their news from printed newspapers was substantially lower than the percentage who read news via other traditional outlets.

With UK consumers increasingly going online to read news, newspaper companies will continue to struggle to attract and retain readers. However, some are performing better than others.

Broadsheets vs. tabloids

Data on the leading newspapers in the United Kingdom showed that tabloids had a higher reach than broadsheets. The Sun and The Sun on Sunday ranked first with a monthly combined print and digital reach of 38 million, followed by The Daily Mail and Daily Mirror papers which placed second and third respectively. Meanwhile, broadsheet paper The Guardian had a reach of less than 30 million. The overall share of individuals reached by popular newspapers was also higher than the percentage of the general population reached by quality newspapers.

The prominence of tabloid newspapers in the United Kingdom was also highlighted in a survey investigating public perceptions of newspapers, which found that just three of the most important print newspapers according to UK readers were broadsheets.

For some newspapers, the shift away from printed newspaper readership towards online news consumption has meant abandoning print altogether. A broadsheet newspaper of note in this regard is The Independent, which published its last print edition in 2016 and has since operated exclusively online. The Independent now relies on a combination of subscriptions, digital advertising, and other revenue streams. With digital news consumption on the up, newspaper publishers must adapt in order to account for changing consumer preferences, and the future newspapers in the United Kingdom will likely see more publications make the necessary changes to ensure their survival.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 34 most important statistics relating to "Newspaper industry in the UK".


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