'Today' says circulation undamaged

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The Independent Online
TODAY said yesterday that provisional estimates prepared for the mid-market tabloid showed its circulation was unaffected by the price war launched by its News International stablemate the Sun, writes Gail Counsell.

Mary Riddell, deputy editor of Today, said market research indicated the newspaper's circulation had been about 540,000 during the week ending on Saturday, the same as the previous week.

She dismissed industry estimates that Today's circulation had been cut by up to 7 per cent as a result of the Sun's decision to cut its cover price by 5p to 20p from last Monday.

The Sun is thought to have added up to 200,000 readers by the decision, which was aimed at its main rival, the Daily Mirror. But the Mirror, which retaliated by cutting its price by 17p to 10p for one day last Monday, also appears to be holding its circulation.

Ms Riddell said that the Sun's extra readers had not necessarily been taken from any other newspaper. 'I imagine the whole market may be expanding and there may be more multiple buying.'

She said the paper had backed up its own estimates with research by 70 circulation representatives and had also conducted a small poll of wholesalers.

The paper's circulation has risen although it remains heavily loss-making. In the first half it was up 8.5 per cent and in June it averaged more than 552,000.

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