New press adds to the glow of 'The Sun' as passion lifts the 'Standard'

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The Independent Online

Rupert Murdoch spent £350m on his new printing plant at Broxbourne and his titles have been printed there since April. It is too early to judge the impact of The Times redesign that the new presses made possible, but The Sun is thriving. Circulation is up 3.48 per cent since last year and rose by 0.55 per cent in May.

Mr Murdoch will hope for more good news as The Sun launches a Polish language edition to coincide with Euro 2008. The only disincentive facing Polish speakers is the price. The Sun already charges varying prices for its weekday English editions: Londoners pay 25p, Scots 30p and the Welsh 35p. Poles will pay 50p.

But price rises need not hamper circulation. The Daily Mail went from 45p to 50p in April. Its circulation remained steady on the annual comparison, though it fell slightly in May.

Further evidence that passion, innovation and marketing can still sell papers came from the perfor-mances of the London Eve- ning Standard and The Observer. The Standard's coverage of mayoral politics appears to have pleased Londoners: circulation is up nearly 10 per cent on the year, and in May it crept above 300,000 daily sales.

In the quality Sunday market, The Observer will celebrate alone. Its circulation continued to rise despite declines at all of its rivals. May's modest monthly increase was boosted by several promotions.

In the daily market, the FT returned to winning ways and City AM, the free business title, performed well too. Its circulation rose to 101,755, which will cheer an editorial team embarrassed last week after they sent an email alert advising that "UK incestors should be prepared for a possible recession".

Tim Luckhurst is professor of journalism at the University of Kent