Europe: free circulation down in 2009 and 2010

In 2009 the average free circulation in Europe dropped with 19% from 26.2 to 21.3 million. When we compare average circulation in 2010 with 2009 another drop of 9% can be recorded. The number of countries with free dailies went down from 33 in 2008 to 32 a year later (-Estonia) and to 29 (-Turkey, -Ukraine and -Lithuania) in 2010.

In 2007 there were 139 titles published in Europe; that number dropped to 82 in 2010. This also means less competition; in 2006 and 2007 there were 4.5 different free titles published on average in every country; in 2010 this is only 2.8.


As can be seen in the graph, the number of titles is now less than in 2005, although circulation is still higher, an indication that more smaller papers have closed down. In 2006 the average circulation of a free daily was 160,000; in 2010 it was 240,000.

Average circulation differs from ‘end of year’ circulation. In the ‘end of year’ circulation only free dailies that are published at the end of December are taken into account – closed down papers are not included while papers launched during that particular year count in full. For papers that are published throughout the year, however, auditing organizations use average circulation. Therefore it makes sense to use average circulation for all papers.

This means that closed down papers are now also taken into account while new launches are partly included. A paper closed down at the end of October is included for 10/12 of its circulation, papers launched in the beginning of November for 2/12. In years with more closures than launches the average circulation is higher than the ‘end of year’ circulation (that would be 19.6 million for 2009).

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