Warning: This post was published more than 11 years ago.
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One month ago today, Roy Greenslade wrote a very interesting piece in the Grauniad about the Daily Mail’s increasing populist approach to reporting, and its increasing obsession with celebrity as it strives to overtake The Sun as this country’s best selling daily.
It began by listing some recent Mail headlines:
Can you guess the daily newspaper that ran these headlines last week? “Rod’s daughter, Rachel and a new love triangle”; “Just what is tormenting Toyah?”; “Becks’ little boy”; “Prince Harry on patrol”; “Rio in trouble again over stag-night rampage”; “Christmas baby for Penny and Rod”; “Go-go have a shave: George Michael at 41”; and “Big bucks Becks.”
This approach, in combination with moves like stealing Littlejohn and increasing the sports pages almost certainly help the paper to appeal to a broader base of people. But can it ever overtake The Sun? Most people think not. I’m not so sure.
Clearly, the Daily Mail has a narrower appeal than The Sun. But in an age of declining sales, my general feeling is that Mail readers will be more faithful than Sun readers. Particularly if newspaper prices are forced up by the OFT’s plans to open up distribution lines for newspapers and magazines, as seems increasingly likely. A larger core of the Daily Mail’s readers would probably be willing to pay a little more for the paper than Sun readers, who I think would be more likely to desert the paper if prices rise significantly.
So my instinct is to say that there’s a distinct possibility that the Daily Mail’s new direction could lead to it’s sales figures exceeding those of The Sun, but only by it’s sales declining more slowly, rather than a surge in circulation. Time will tell.