A tipster recently disembarked from a cruise in Sydney and was handed a copy of The Sunday Telegraph. And not just any copy, but a “Carnival Spirit Souvenir Edition”. A wrap-around featured a note from Premier Mike Baird welcoming visitors to Sydney, a “shining jewel of a city”, along with tourist tips. Beneath the wrap was a normal copy of the paper.


“So my query to Crikey (News Corp really), is: This ship carries 2,124 passengers. It was full, and I know that because the captain told me (bumped into him so why not ask?). There are multiple cruises leaving Sydney from this and numerous other companies and other ports every week. Some ships are much bigger. On average there’s a new cruise departing from Sydney almost every other day.”

“Is this a one-off with just one cruise company? If not (and even if it is just the one carrier), do the math and if this kind of ‘direct marketing’ insert is being done on a regular basis, does that bump up the readership/copies ‘sold’ figures for circulation purposes? It wouldn’t take very many cruises. “

It certainly wouldn’t, but it doesn’t appear all passengers on all cruises get the paper in this way, or the freebie figure would be higher than that shown in the circulation figures. Such freebies do go into the headline circulation figures, which for The Sunday Telegraph are very healthy (it sold an average of 452,377 copies every Sunday in the three months to December, audit figures showed). But the paper does have to disclose how many of the total were given away cheaply or entirely free in promotions such as these. In the last circulation figures, an average of 37,458 copies of the Sunday Tele were given away in similar situations (airlines, hotels, schools, events) every week. That’s just over 8%, which isn’t too bad a figure compared to lots of other papers.

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