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Herald & Times grows circulation & hits record online subscriptions in September

It was not only an interest in the political system which was given a boost by the Scottish independence referendum; it appears it sparked an enduring interest in current affairs as well, says the Herald & Times Group.

The Herald newspaper saw its print sales rise by 7,500 copies the day after the vote, and by almost 10,000 copies the day after, as Scots tried to get to grips with the implications of their democratic decision.

The Sunday Herald, the only paper to openly come out in favour of independence, saw its print circulation rise by 64% in September 2014, compared with the September before, peaking at just under 50,000 copies the weekend after the vote.

However, say the publishers, it’s in online readership and digital subscriptions where the most lasting legacy of the referendum may be felt.

Tim Blott, managing director of the Herald & Times Group commented: “We enjoyed increased print circulations and reached an unprecedented 2.9M users on alone in September, and were able to play a highly influential role in the wider discussions playing out on social media.

“Our digital, paid readership is growing faster than ever as a result and, having announced we had reached 10,000 paid digital subscribers by July, we saw that rise to 13,500 in just three months, by the end of September.

“Strong stories and informed, opinionated insight spark interest and, regardless of how readers choose to access news, the referendum has had a lasting effect on Scots’ engagement with the social, political and economic factors which influence their daily lives.”

Herald & Times Group has enjoyed steady increases in paid subscriptions over the year to September 2014 according to internal sales figures. Audited ABC figures released in August 2014 revealed a total audience increase of 39% during the period January to June 2014 and the Group expects future ABC figures to continue to reflect growing paid audiences.

Tim Blott added “Our model clearly shows that people are prepared to pay for quality content.

“The flexibility of our print-digital combination subscription packages suits readers who like the option of scrolling through our mobile site while adding comments through their own social media channels, or relaxing with our SundayLife magazine over the weekend.

“Too much is made of the demise of print newspapers – we in the industry know that paper is merely one vehicle. The true value of newspapers lies in the quality of content and analysis – and the various ways in which we use different media platforms and understand and respond to our readers’ needs.”