Circulation figures for Britain's broadsheet newspapers have been declining steadily since the emergence of tabloids, but in the online world broadsheets are racing ahead in the popularity stakes.

The Sun tabloid, for example, had an average daily print circulation of 3.6 million in January, compared with 410,000 for The Guardian broadsheet. But online, the guardianunlimited Web site received 25.9 million hits in January, while The Sun's web site reached just one-third as many web surfers.

According to columnist and editor Sally West, the reason for the disparity is demographics. While tabloid readers are likely to be heavy TV watchers, broadsheet readers are more likely to be web surfers and therefore more inclined to visit their newspaper's internet site. (Click here for more information.)

Meanwhile, though the trend at most large newspapers has been to establish a significant web presence as quickly as possible, one major British publisher believes this strategy is misguided.

Charles Sinclair, chief executive of the Daily Mail and General Trust, said he did not believe the internet was the place for breaking news. Speaking before the UK's culture, media and sport select committee, Mr Sinclair said: "We think niche sites are a much better way of using the web than taking the whole paper and transferring it onto the internet... We have no belief that newspapers will transfer themselves onto the Internet."

(Click here for more information.)

Free daily newsletter

If you like our news and feature articles, you can sign up to receive our free daily (Mon-Fri) email newsletter (mobile friendly).