Roy Greenslade, the London Evening Standard's media commentator, takes an inconclusive look today at why Saturday editions of our national newspapers outsell Monday to Fridays' and, particularly, by a wide margin exceed Sunday circulations.
Towards the end of his article he tells readers: "If you have reached this point and now think: “This guy really hasn’t a clue as to why two million fewer copies of papers are sold on a Sunday than a Saturday,” you’d be absolutely correct."
I'm one of the many who has stopped buying a Sunday newspaper after more than 40 years in favour of a Saturday paper for a half-dozen of the following reasons:-
1. Sunday newspapers have long been too big to read comfortably on the day. Now editions are so inflated - to carry ever more adverts - it's impossible. The advent of rolling news means I've less inclination to read supplements across the week given their contents are swiftly overtaken by events.
2. Saturday papers are more concise and therefore cheaper.
3. Sports reports used to be a big selling advantage for the Sundays. If you couldn't get to the match on the Saturday the next best thing was to read its newspaper report the next day. With Sky and other sports broadcasters it's now possible to watch the game live - and listen to the pundits. So there's no necessity to wait 24 hours for a dead tree journalist's assessments. I don't have Sky but my local pub does.
4. Talking of dead trees, I had become bothered by the number of supplements I was throwing away unread.
5. There used to be little else to do on Sundays but read the newspapers. The liberalisation of shopping and drink legislation means there are alternative attractions.
6. For the Sunday broadsheets it's harder these days to break agenda-setting exclusives, while the tabloids' celebrity fare face challenges from daily rivals, television, and especially the internet.