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UK media reach in numbers: What channel is right for you?


It’s a question every client rightly wants an answer to whenever a campaign gets underway. Just where should you focus your efforts to reach, educate and engage the audience that matters to you most?
With this in mind, we thought it would be useful to share how the various media platforms stack up in terms of reach and exposure, so you know exactly the kind of media bang you’re getting for that buck. Without further ado then, here is the UK media reach in numbers…


National newspapers 

The most read of all national newspapers continues to be the Sun, and this is also true of the Sunday edition- respectively average circulation rates in January were 1,978,702 and 1,582,359 (down 10.61 and 12.13% year-on-year).
The Independent is the lowest national in terms of circulation- 61,338 midweek, 97,646 on a Sunday. However, the i claims 280,351.
The rest look like this:
Daily Mail – 1,688,727
Daily Mirror – 922,235
The Daily Telegraph – 494,675
Daily Express – 457,914
Daily Star – 425, 246
The Times – 396,621
Financial Times – 219,444
Daily Record – 203,725
The Guardian – 185,429


National newspaper websites 

The most popular British newspaper website is Mail Online (Daily Mail), with a staggering 199.41million visits recorded in December 2014.
The rest stack up like this:
Guardian – 106.7million
Telegraph – 72.01million
Mirror Group Nationals* – 65.5million
The Independent – 45.68million
Metro – 26.87million
Daily Express – 16.26million
Daily Star – 8.98million
*Mirror Group Nationals represents combined figures for Daily Mirror, Daily Record, Sunday Mirror, the People and Sunday Mail.


National Magazines

The most read weekly magazine on UK newsstands is TV Choice (1,266,242),
followed by Whats On TV (1,056,885) and Radio Times (783,042).
The next ten look like this:
Take A Break – 645,884 – (Gossip/Women’s Lifestyle)
The Editor London* – 600,000 (Lifestyle)
Shortlist – 500,449 (Men’s Interest)
Stylist – 400,302 (Women’s Lifestyle)
Waitrose Weekend – 400,000 (Food/Supermarket)
Time Out London – 308,579 (Entertainment/Arts/What’s On)
Woman’s Weekly – 307,315 – (Women’s Lifestyle)
Chat – 301, 619 –  (Gossip/Women’s Lifestyle)
New! – 296,682 – (Gossip/Women’s Lifestyle)
Closer – 297,519 – (Gossip/Women’s Lifestyle)


By circulation, the top monthly magazine is The Club (British Airways), with 3,300,000 issues per month distributed.
The next ten are:
Primary Times – 2,400,000 million (Parenting, education)
National Trust Magazine – 2,100,000 million (Leisure)
ASDA Magazine – 1,973,282 (Food/Supermarket)
bThere – 1,500,000 (Travel – Brussells Airlines)
Boots Parenting Club – 1,000,000 (Parenting / Store contract title)
Metropolitan – 800,000 (Travel – Eurostar)
The Guild Property – 750,000 (Trade – Guild of Estate Agents)
Waitrose Kitchen – 687,100 (Food/Supermarket)
My VIP – 674,075 (Leisure/Pets – Pets At Home)
The University Paper – 600,000 (Education/Careers – Student Media)



Disregarding newspaper news sites (see above), the most visited website in Britain is tech hub CNET, with 165,000,000million unique hits per month.
The next ten are:
CNN International – 62million (News/Current Affairs)
The LAD Bible – 48million (Men’s Lifestyle)
TechRadar – 26milion (Consumer Technology)
ZDNet – 25million (Technology)
Digitial Spy – 23million (Entertainment)
MSN – 23million (News/Current Affairs)
Channel Flip – 22million (Technology/Entertainment) – 20million (Cricket)
cheapflights – 17.5million(Travel Advice/Travel News/Travel Booking)
BuzzFeed – 16million (News/Current Affairs/Entertainment)



The most popular station in the UK is BBC Radio 2, with an average of 15,513,000 listeners each week.
Here are the best of the rest:
BBC Radio 1 – 10.8million
BBC Radio 4 – 10.6million
BBC Radio 5 live – 6.3million
Classic FM – 5.4million
talkSport – 3.4million
Magic – 1.9million
BBC Radio 3 – 1.8million
Absolute Radio – 1.8million
BBC World Service – 1.3million
LBC – 1.2million
Based on annual figures from BARB (Broadcasting Audience Research Board), the most watched TV channel during 2014 was BBC One, with 21,7% of the population tuning in.
This is how the others fared:
ITV1 – 14.7%
BBC Two – 6.1%
Channel 4 – 4.8%
Channel 5 – 4.0%
ITV+1 – 0.8%
Channel 4+1 – 0.8%
Channel 5+1 – 0.4%
Other digital and subscription channels – 46.8%


Social media

Social media statistics for individual global regions and countries are much harder to come by than you might think. For instance, SnapChat, the subject of this month’s social network focus, has not revealed how many people actively engage in Britain every month. Nor has Google+, and several other major platforms.
Here’s what we do know, though*:
Facebook – 30-33million
LinkedIn – 15million
Twitter – 14million
WhatsApp – 13million
Pinterest – 2million**
*All figures are estimates based on the most recently available data
**Pinterest figure is for 2013 and user numbers are likely to have grown significantly


Points to consider

Statistics can be used to prove all manner of points, a fact that’s indicative of how important it is to read between the lines. As such here are some things to consider based on the numbers above…
*Print and online readership continue to be worlds apart in terms of how articles- and in particular sell-ins- impact consumer decisions. For example, a good recommendation in a print column carries more clout than the digital equivalent for the simple reason that the public understands print space is tight, and therefore  there has to be a very good reason to make it into an issue.
*Demographics are of paramount importance. One look at the top 10 magazines in terms of circulation is enough to prove that the most-read titles are mainstream and do not target a niche audience, or younger generations of readers.
*Social media reach is entirely dependent on engagement. The more a post is engaged with, the further your story will go. Smoking Gun’s blog carries ongoing advice on the best ways to interact with consumers via social networks.
*Twitter counts ‘passive users’ as active- these are people who do not build followers or, in some cases, tweet and re-tweet, but instead simply read other people’s posts.
*Facebook’s organic reach has hit an all-time low, dropping to 5.87% on average by February 2014, and the decline continues. This means that whilst Zuckerberg’s is the biggest network, without spending money you could be talking to less people than you initially thought.
*TV and radio are no longer one-off plugs. Thanks to on-demand and catch up services, one mention on a high profile programme can be heard by far more than the initial audience.
*Readerships are falling amongst all print titles. UK magazines lost 14million sales in 2014 alone. The Times and Sunday Times were the only titles to buck this year-on-year trend in January 2015.

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