Sales of The Spectator broke through an all-time high three years ago, and we’ve kept growing ever since. The latest industry figures, for the first half of the year, are out today – and I’m delighted to say that it’s our best-ever start to any year. Our worldwide sales averaged 71,102 in the first half of this year, up 1,939 from the same period last year. This is our preferred figure: copies that people buy for themselves. Add other forms of circulation (samples, and copies bought by the more discerning airlines for their passengers), split out print-and-digital bundles, and the headline figure calculated by ABC, the industry auditor, stands at 102,866.
I’d also like to share some other figures. Evening Blend, our daily newsletter, has now broken through 40,000 subscribers (you can sign up free to it here) and it’s growing fast, on account of it being the best evening newsletter anywhere. We offer it free to those who register for the website, and reading the Blend every day makes new registrants more likely to subscribe. We have 148,000 registered users on the website, up by a third over the last six months. Registered users are entitled to read three articles each week: if they want to read more, in the magazine or – as of last year – on Coffee House, we ask them to pay.
Our podcasts are also strikingly popular. We had only intended to run a daily politics podcast during the election campaign, but people kept on listening so we carried on. Coffee House Shots, our daily podcast, now has 15,000 regular listeners, even in recess. The Spectator Podcast, our weekly podcast, is just north of 30,000. Under our new podcast editor, Cindy Yu, the figure is growing all the time.
We also have a books podcast (my personal favourite) presented by Sam Leith, our literary editor; a religion podcast from Damian Thompson and an American politics podcast by Freddy Gray, our deputy editor. Add all of these together and Spectator podcasts are now listened to more than 140,000 times a week.
The purpose of these podcasts, the emails and the blogs is to grow our (rowdy) family of subscribers. So far, so good. There’s a lot of talk about a tension between print and digital, but that has not been our experience. The Spectator, the world’s oldest weekly, is celebrating a record because we new readers have found us through podcasts, the emails or the website. To join them – with a month free, then £8.99 a month thereafter – please click here.