"The arms that you wield now are not such as your forefathers wielded; but they are infinitely more effective, and infinitely more irresistable" ~ Cymru Fydd leaflet, 1890

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The Western Fail fails again.

The Western Fail has released it's sales figures and it's now 'flogging' 23,717 copies. Which is a huge decrease on the 25,898 copies they were flogging back when the figures were released in July 2012. This represents a loss of 2,181 copies or a reduction of 8.42%
A typical copy of the Fail
Back when I looked at those stats last July we already had the newest census figures showing Wales' population was at 3,065,300. This enabled me to work out that the Western Fail was only bought by 1 out of every 118 people in Wales. Which is quite tragic for a newspaper that calls itself the "national newspaper of Wales".

These latest figures show that the total percentage of people in Wales buying the Fail has dropped from 0.84% to 0.77%. To make that an easier to digest figure it works out as 1 in every 129 people 'buy' their paper. Or 128 out of every 129 don't buy it.

Some of this loss could be put down to the fact that the Fail has started giving away 5,000 copies each week in Swansea. But even that can't account for a drop so sharp that you could see three bendy buses pass without a single Fail reader being on board (3.49 buses to be exact!). Realistically the blame has to lie in the editorial policy of hating your target audience. The target audience for any newspaper in Wales ought to be Welsh people. The Fail though, opts for the BritNats, the self loathers and the colonisers. The 'silent majority' that are few and far between and who never stop slagging us off.

Edit - When originally written I wasn't sure if the free copies were included in the figures or not, so I decided to give the Fail the benefit of the doubt and assume that they weren't. MH (Syniadau) has kindly shared the link to the official report which shows that the freebies were included. So that means the 1 in 129 figure is wrong, it is in fact much, much worse!

The full report is here which shows that (a fraction over) 91% of the 23,717 were paid for copies. The freebies account for 1989 'lost' sales which drops the percentage of people in Wales buying "the national newspaper of Wales" down to 0.71%. To put that into an easily readable ratio that means only 1 in every 141 people in Wales are buying the Western Fail. That's 3.81 bendy buses to the people in Swansea getting the freebies!

This new figure represents a loss in sales of 4,170 copies which translates as a whopping 16.1% reduction. For a minute there I actually paused and thought that I shouldn't poke fun at this rag any longer. But then I remember the editorials they have run in the past and it makes me smile. Wales really does need a proper national newspaper, but it doesn't need the Western Fail.
Sometimes it really is best to go with the crowd. Share via twitter | facebook

So until such a time comes when the Fail realises that to be the "national newspaper of Wales" it has to be a paper that Welsh people want to buy and read, I can only suggest that you continue to not buy it until it wakes up or dies.

Thanks to Plaid Wrecsam for the heads up of the sales figures and Syniadau for the link to the updated stats.

Share this via twitter | facebook


  1. The mis-match between the outlook of the readers (and potential readers) and the editorial line has always been the reason for the Wasting Mule's poor sales.

    Those who want London news and a Brit outlook on the world have a number of English dailies to choose from, the Mule cannot compete. It shouldn't even try. But it does, and that's why it fails.

    It may even be a subsidised failure, because a genuine Welsh daily, critical of the London and Cardiff governments, and giving Welsh readers the truth, would be dangerous.

    So the Mule stumbles along relying on a combination of sports coverage, the lack of a rival, and public announcements to keep it ticking over.

  2. To put some figures on the effect of the free pick-up copies in Swansea: according to the ABC data, here, the 23,717 average daily circulation figure includes 1,989 free pickup copies (over 5,700 are distributed in Swansea on Thursdays and Fridays). The average paid-for circulation figure is 21,728.

    The previous figures are here.

    1. The previous figures are fine but I didn't realise the free editions were actually included in the total for this period. That makes their sales even worse. I shall update my maths later and maybe even make a fancy new graphic.

      Diolch yn fawr MH.