News insiders say it’s panic stations at the Herald Sun following the release of Friday’s December audit figures which showed Monday-Friday circulation plummeting to 495,000, compared to 514,000 a year earlier and 515,000 in the June 2010 quarter. While some observers have suggested a lack of promotion is to blame, others say the tabloid failed to capitalise on the biggest promotion of all — a Collingwood premiership.
According to News CEO John Hartigan’s evidence in the Bruce Guthrie unfair dismissal case, that’s about as big as it gets for the Hun, with the appearance of the black and white said to add about 30,000 copies an edition. AFL premierships don’t usually fall into the September audit period, but last year’s dramatic draw between Collingwood and St Kilda meant the season wasn’t decided until October — the first month of the December audit. Even with pre and post-game wraparounds galore, the parochial tabloid still couldn’t stop the bleeding.