Free circulation in Denmark dropped from 2 million in 2006 to less than 200,000 in 2013. But what was the impact on paid circulation? Did readers end their paid subscription and moved to free dailies?
This could be the case as one free paper – Nyhedsavisen – presented itself as a substitute: large editorial team, home delivery, six days a week. Also 24timer and Dato were home delivered in the beginning.
In the graph below free circulation is compared with the circulation of eight paid newspapers: quality papers Jyllandsposten, Politiken and Berlingske Tidende; tabloids Ekstra Bladet and BT; and local papers Jydske Vestkysten, Fyens Stiftstidende, and Nordjyske Stiftstidende.
At first sight, the impact is minimal, paid circulation did not take a big hit in 2006 and 2007.
The decline in paid circulation, however, increased during those years. Paid circulation dropped with 3% per year on average between 2000 and 2007; in the period 2008-2012 this was -7% on average. Part of this drop could probably be attributed to the high availability of free newspapers.
(The data for 2013 is an estimate as some data from 2000-2004 for some titles.)