Circulations, Riots and Big Brother

Circulations, Riots and Big Brother

Circulation Changes

In the weeks since the News of the World closed its doors for the last time, the Sunday tabloid’s competitors have been competing tooth and nail for the readers of its 2.7 million copies. TV campaigns, direct mail pieces, price reductions and reader giveaways have all been deployed to entice the discerning readers of the former red top to a new regular read. As the dust begins to settle, now seems a reasonable time to take stock of the resulting changes to circulation. The Sunday Mirror grew its circulation 64% month on month July to August. The People’s circulation grew 70% over the same period, while the Daily Star Sunday has been the clear winner, having grown by an impressive 160%, from 300k to 780k copies.

Captain Clickback says: “Some of these papers have yet to end their temporary price reductions. The UK’s print media landscape is changed irrevocably, clearly, but there may still be some bounceback here as prices return to normal and the promotional campaigns come to an end. In many cases advertising costs have yet to catch up with the growth in readers. This won’t last long, but in the meantime there are some bargains to be had.”


The latest but no doubt not the last in a long line of Google acquisitions, the search giant recently purchased mobile manufacturer Motorola, for a fairly impressive £7.6bn. Representing £24 per share, the deal was the largest yet struck by Google. It’s thought that the motive behind the move is Google’s desire to provide further support for its Android platform, giving vertical access to the technology firm’s smart phones and tablets, and the millions of users of these handsets. This will allow Google to compete on a more even footing with Apple, which was previously the only company to have total control of an operating system as well as the devices that use it.

Captain Clickback says: “There’s a huge gamble here. Despite now owning Motorola outright, Google will still be reliant for much of Android’s market share on other phone manufacturers such as Samsung and HTC. By entering into the handset market, Google is competing with its own customers and may risk alienating them, creating opportunities for a rival operating system to come to the fore.”
Those Riots…

Social media was lauded and scorned in equal measure during England’s recent riots. First we heard that Blackberry Messenger and Twitter were used by rioters to plan their activities. Next the police’s use of social media gained attention, as they used it to reassure citizens and publicise photographs of suspects. Then came the clean up, when Twitter was used to organise volunteer clean-up crews and donations for those who lost their homes.

But among the rumours, the untruths and the instant updates, it was the primacy of traditional media personnel that came to the fore. Throughout the unrest, traditional print, radio and TV journalists provided on-the-spot tweets, retweeted each others’ content, linked to papers’ blogs or to video content and verified and scotched rumours as need dictated. The riots showed that social media has become indispensable as a source of information and, yes, revealed it to be as vulnerable to misuse as any other communication tool. But they also highlighted the fact that there’s still a need for the professional journalist, for voices among the millions who can add credibility, veracity, detail, comment and insight to the noise.

Big Brother Crossover

As TV behemoth Big Brother grinds into motion once more, the changes wrought by Richard Desmond’s acquisition of the format will surely become all the more apparent. The cross media tie-ins that have been set in place are, at first, the most noticeable change. Channel Five’s stable mate, the Daily Star, has been declared the official Big Brother paper; it has been promoting the coming series with more than its usual bluster, and will no doubt be privy to insights and access that the other red tops can’t muster. And when the contestants leave the house, you can be fairly confident that their first interviews will be given to OK! Magazine.

Captain Clickback says: “This is starting to look like a closed shop. But it’s not a given that the other publishers will care. The dominance of the Northern and Shell platforms in covering this show might only increase the distaste and indifference that has been building for the program among other media outlets over the last few years.”

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