IMAGINE THE typical English summer scene, sitting in a deck chair or on a park bench, reading the newspaper, as the sun beats down from a cloudless sky. It will need some imagination; for while the weather has duly obliged with a welcome heatwave, newspaper sales have been suffering a depression surprisingly early in the summer.
National newspaper sales began to fall off in the last weeks of June. The latest ABC figures showed only three titles escaped a circulation drop last month. As school term dates preclude a major shift to early holidays, the good weather seems largely responsible.
Why should newspaper reading be a casualty of hot weather?
Dr Mark Griffiths, reader in psychology at Nottingham Trent University, says: "The last thing people want to do in hot weather is buy newspapers. Newspaper reading is still largely seen as an indoor activity. Personally, I'm someone who likes to take the Sunday papers out and have a pub lunch; but I'm not typical.
"Another factor is that we know people are getting their news more from radio and TV, and using newspapers for lifestyle and entertainment articles. In the summer when they are on leave, they are more likely to get this material from magazines, associating magazines more than newspapers with leisure time." Barry Thomas, assistant circulation manager at The Express, says the trend hasn't been too severe, though the ever increasing number of people taking foreign holidays continues to bite into sales. …