An enormous penis

This entry was posted on
Wednesday, March 11th, 2009
9:40 am and is filed
under Old Media.

Guardian – Padding the truth: But the truth is that circulation – at least in the short term – has little to do with a newspaper’s quality or the editor’s skills. Marketing campaigns, price cuts (or rises), free offers and even, as we have seen, unusual activity by a rival have more influence on sales than anything journalists do. Rebekah Wade may be editing the Sun brilliantly but, since the paper sells for 15p less than its main rival, the Mirror, it is hard to tell. Even the figures themselves are not all they seem. At some time in its history, every newspaper has had its circulation improved by “bulks” – copies that go for a nominal price, mainly to airlines and hotels as freebies for customers…. Such figures may be extracted from the 11 columns of the ABC’s monthly table. But they rarely get quoted and newspapers and magazines, always spinning the figures, discount bulks only when it suits them. At the New Statesman, my successor as editor, John Kampfner, achieved circulation of 30,000 and understandably shouted it from the media rooftops. But it was based largely on giving away 5,000 copies, until the proprietor, Geoffrey Robinson, decided bulks were a waste of money.

Of course, people don’t lie about their circulation figures just to diddle advertisers*… as the above article acknowledges, the “more money = better than” equation is also at work:

[*FINE PRINT: According to an official statement from MessageSpace, Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’) “is neither a shareholder, director or employee of MessageSpace and never has been.” Overt and implied claims made by Paul Staines about his profits and those of MessageSpace are seemingly contradicted by claims made by Alex Hilton (aka ‘Recess Monkey’), but Alex may merely be confused… as he clearly must have been when he was under the impression that he had sold all but a small remainder of shares to Paul Staines, who “is neither a shareholder, director or employee of MessageSpace and never has been.”]

About Tim Ireland

Tim is the sole author of Bloggerheads.
This entry was posted in Old Media. Bookmark the permalink.