Telegraph plc

Telegraph plc
   The Daily Telegraph is Britain’s best-selling ‘quality’ daily newspaper. At the end of 1997 its circulation was nearly 1.1 million copies a day, challenged only, at some remove, by The Times with a figure that had only recently risen above three-quarters of a million, while the Guardian totalled fewer than 400,000 and the Independent only a quarter of a million. Commanding not far short of 40 percent of the ‘quality’ newspaper market, and more than 8 percent of total sales nationally, the Daily Telegraph appears, even if its figures are not rising, to be in a strong position. Though criticism of the Conservative Party is not precluded, the Daily Telegraph is generally regarded, particularly by those preferring other papers, to be firmly oriented towards the right in politics, an aspect reflected more in its comment columns than in its news reporting. Its readers, male and female, tend to be conformist, middle-class and middle-aged or older. Such a readership commands considerable spending power, a factor reflected not only in the fine quality of its business pages but also in the advertising that the paper attracts. The sports pages are good, the arts reporting, especially of musical events, is serious and respected, and the design and layout of its ‘broad sheet’ pages, characteristic of the quality papers, have improved in recent years. Founded in 1855, taking advantage of the repeal of the Newspaper Duty, the Daily Telegraph encountered varying fortunes before gaining something like its present position just before the Second World War under William Berry (Lord Camrose). It was acquired in 1985 by Conrad Black’s Hollinger, a Canadian company. Formerly published from Peterborough Court—hence the pseudonym of one of its regular columnists—the Daily Telegraph, like most of the rest of national press, deserted Fleet Street for the Isle of Dogs in 1987. The Sunday Telegraph was not established until 1961, with a Sunday Telegraph Magazine offered as an extra in 1995. Though there are signs of growth, sales of the Sunday Telegraph, at 860,000, are markedly lower than for the daily paper, amounting to only some 30 percent of the ‘quality’ Sunday market (as opposed to 45 percent for the Sunday Times) and to a 6 percent overall share. Apparently a sizeable proportion of Daily Telegraph readers opt for a newspaper from a different stable on Sundays, most likely the Sunday Times.
   Further reading
    Hart-Davis, D. (1990) The House the Berrys Built: Inside The Telegraph, London: Hodder & Stoughton.
   CHRISTOPHER SMITH

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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