The Guardian’s influence is increasingly reliant on the BBC

A couple of weeks ago the Audit Bureau of Circulations figures for national newspapers for June was reported in the Press Gazette. It shows that newspapers are fishing an increasingly shallow pool as readers turn away from them.

The average drop in year on year average circulation figures across the dailies was 7.9%.  However, as you can see from the table below, some fared worse than others…

(The Up/Down figure is the year-on-year percentage rise or fall in circulation)

The New Labour supporting Times and increasingly confused Telegraph both showed above average falls in average daily circulation, reflecting their lack of relevance.  But it is the left leaning papers that are really suffering.  The Daily Star recorded the biggest drop and The Guardian saw the third largest decline.

The Guardian is firmly on track to fall below the quarter of a million average daily circulation figure.  But that notwithstanding it continues to enjoy audience reach through its broadcasting arm, the BBC, which spouts the Guardian editorial line as if it were a given truth.  Again, this raises the question of the disproportionate influence The Guardian has over the BBC.  Despite the fact readers are rejecting The Guardian newspaper in greater numbers than the industry average, it is referenced far more by the BBC than any other organ and more journalists from The Guardian are called upon to offer commentary and opinion than from any other paper.

We could hope the BBC Trust might take time to commission a review into plurality of opinion among its invited guests, but if recent ‘independent’ reviews are anything to go by they would probably maintain their incestuous relationship by asking Peter Preston to conduct it, and the outcome would likely be a recommendation that the BBC stops inviting any journalists on air except those from The Guardian, current or retired, and that Alan Rusbridger be given his own primetime TV slot to share his views on Britain, News Corporation and the world.

Without the BBC the fact is the Guardian would be sinking much further even quicker. From the advertising revenue to the visibility and platform afforded to the paper, the licence fee payer is being compelled to subsidise a declining business under pain of fine or imprisonment.  Bar the grumbling what is anyone doing to address this outrageous state of affairs?

13 Responses to “The Guardian’s influence is increasingly reliant on the BBC”

  1. 1 Brian H 30/07/2011 at 8:01 pm

    I predict that the audiences for the Guardian and BBC will overlap more and more till they merge. They then will undergo the normal consequences of inbreeding: grotesque mutations followed by extinction.

  2. 2 Dave H 30/07/2011 at 8:08 pm

    Perhaps it’s the other way around – there’s no need to buy the Guardian because anything interesting in it has already been mentioned on the BBC?

  3. 3 Curmudgeon 30/07/2011 at 8:21 pm

    And the much-maligned “Daily Wail” seems to be bucking the trend – the only one on the list with a decline of less than 5%.

  4. 4 Uncle Badger 30/07/2011 at 8:43 pm

    And there was that silly boy, Damian Thompson, in yesterday’s Telegraph, damning those who complain about the BBC on blogs as: “…the pyjama-clad pseudonymous obsessives whose fingers are calloused from rattling out the truth about the “EUSSR”, BBC bias, Big Pharma, Zionists, Islam etc.” and drawing the sort of links with Breivik that you would expect to see from a Guardianista.

    We are badly served by our newspapers in this country (though perhaps still better than our cousins in the USA) but what we don’t have (by design, of course) is talk radio.

    The Guardian is heading for the rocks and could sink fast if Cameron had any courage (he could hole it instantly by forcing government advertising online). Sadly, what we would be left with would’t be a great deal better.

  5. 5 permanentexpat 30/07/2011 at 9:22 pm

    Can’t remember the last time I bought one of these rags…I look at one or two of them online of course in case I miss something…which is seldom & I suffer from curiousity.
    There are a few good writers on most of these papers but they do it for money (Why not?) and would probably starve if they had the gonads to blog their own thing.
    Here, after many years, I can now get BBC Ministry of Truth, ITV & Sky but avoid their News & Talk Show propaganda for its puerility & emetic qualities.
    I stay reasonably well informed by the blogosphere, Al Jazeera, Russia Today & German TV which, although displaying bias, is far less patronising than our own dear dreer media..

  6. 6 permanentexpat 30/07/2011 at 9:25 pm


  7. 7 Sean 30/07/2011 at 9:54 pm

    I read a few years ago that the Groan and the Times accounted for 68% of BBC recruitment advertising. I would like to see the latest figures.

  8. 8 right_writes 31/07/2011 at 8:02 am


    “Here, after many years, I can now get BBC Ministry of Truth, ITV & Sky but avoid their News & Talk Show propaganda for its puerility & emetic qualities.”

    Nicely put sir…

    However, as I am sure you are aware, the rest of their output makes regular use (in comedy, drama, soap, “science”, or any other forgotten genre) of puerile and vomit inducing content….

    The assumptions about “climate change”, “little englanders”, the fact that there is something wrong with us if we aren’t “gay” or married to a Muslim and wearing a sack, are so casual it makes me cringe…

    My family have banned me from watching TV… I couldn’t give a monkey… Particularly since in addition to all of the previously mentioned sins, it is apparently now mainly reporting on the antics of “Seb” f**king “Coe” and the rest of the Olymipian idiots.

    BTW: Where have you escaped to, and do you avoid paying the BBTax?

  9. 9 Andrew Duffin 31/07/2011 at 8:41 am

    Wasn’t there something said once about the government putting all its job adverts online and thereby not giving The Graun such an enormous backdoor subsidy?

    What happened with that?

    Oh, silly me, no doubt it was another of Dave’s cast-iron promises.

  10. 10 Jack Savage 31/07/2011 at 9:03 am

    The tragedy of the Guardian is that it was once a pretty good newspaper…and I would say it would not take much more than a wave of the editorial wand ( replace Rusbridger with say, Jeremy Clarkson) and a ruthless purge of most of the more egregiously awful journos to be so again. Fat chance of that.

    What is to be done?

    Nothing…it seems to be putting itself out of business. At what level of readership will it actually die of shame?

  11. 11 Dooberry 31/07/2011 at 10:01 am

    Goverment recruitment online probably went the same way as the ‘Bonfire of the Quangos’. Hence the BBC will continue to be the broadcast arm of the Guardian.
    Good job I don’t have any bricks handy when watching the BBC – I would have got through hundreds of screens by now.

  12. 12 Chris Palmer 31/07/2011 at 2:18 pm

    The Guardian is a state newspaper and should in future be described as such. It makes huge losses, gains much of its revenue through state funding 1) from public sector jobs advertisements, and 2) the people who read it largely work for the public sector and therefore it is state money that is funding again.

    The Guardian would go out of business if allowed to go it alone.

  13. 13 BrianJay 04/08/2011 at 1:01 pm

    I am not sure of the details but Priate Eye has been following the operations of Guardian Media group, which my reading is that they have been up to the same sort of shannigans that Southern Cross was, namely loading a company with debt (in this cae a loan) in order to post profits (and bonusses) for the Grauniad. You might want to check this – I cannot at present.

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