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Sales of The Spectator hit a 188-year high in ‘perfect storm’ of print and digital

11 August 2016

1:59 PM

11 August 2016

1:59 PM

The UK magazine industry publishes its circulation figures today, and there is good news for The Spectator: the highest sales ever in our long and illustrious 188-year history.

Our web traffic has hit an all time high: we broke 4m monthly unique users during the referendum campaign, which is quite something for a ‘paywalled’ publication. But traffic comes and goes. What matters is whether the new readers like what they see and, when they encounter the paywall, decide to join us. They are now doing so in record numbers. As a result our subscriptions are soaring.

Our print sales figure now stands at 56,632 for the first half of this year – with digital-only sales, it rises to 64,612. This is a record high. The ABC headline figure released today, which includes all forms of circulation worldwide, is at 84,625 – again, the highest ever recorded.

The Spectator’s growth is being driven by print and digital. Not many publications can boast of growth in both, in what is a perfect storm for us. Each week, hundreds of readers sign up for a subscription — and they tend to ask for our print and digital bundle.

As our digital reach expands, our print sales continue to rise, recently by an exceptional amount. Our Brexit butterfly cover set the tone for a run which added almost 50 per cent. While many newspapers and magazines will have enjoyed a surge around that time, The Spectator also saw a spike in subscriptions. This is particularly encouraging because to spend any amount of time reading The Spectator is to realise you’re on to a good thing. Our renewal rates are over 80 per cent after the first year, over 90 per cent after the second year. As our growing army of subscribers knows, we offer originality and quality of argument not to be found in any other weekly.

A Spectator subscription also buys you access to our growing range of subscriber-only events. They’re proving hugely popular: an ‘Evening with Rod Liddle’ sold out all 1,000 tickets; tickets for an evening with Charles Moore are on sale now. Our Brexit debate sold out the London Palladium – and, as those there will attest, it was better than any of the subsequent TV debates. The Spectator now has a reputation for laying on the best events of any UK publication, bar none. Invitation-only access to Spectator events is a new perk of subscription.

There’s also a trend towards readers preferring news and views in their inbox, rather than having to go online. So The Spectator now has a range of email newsletters: for Politics, Books, Money, Life, Health and the Magazine itself – you can sign up to any of them here.

If the journalism is not just better but significantly better than what you get for free, then people will pay for it. The digital era has taken The Spectator to the most successful chapter in its long and proud history. To join us, for £1 a week, click here.


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