Guardian office
Credit: Michael Bruntonspall on Flickr. Some rights reserved

A new study, which combines print and online readership figures for the first time, shows that more people in the UK read the Guardian online than in print, with the newspaper securing the highest combined readership across UK national quality titles in an average month.

The number of readers of the Guardian a month was recorded on average as 4.08 million, compared to a website readership of 6.41 million.

When those figures, taken from two datasets, are combined, and duplication removed where readers are understood to read both, the Guardian's combined readership is said to be 8.95 million. This is the highest combined readership figure reported for a quality daily UK newspaper.

The results, published in a new dataset launched by the National Readership Survey (NRS), show that the combined readership represents a 119.5 per cent difference compared to its print readership, the highest percentage difference across national UK dailies included in the report.

This equates to a difference of 4.87 million additional readers when the website data is included in the readership results, compared to 4.08 million print readers.

The figures also show a duplication of around 1.5 million, indicating the number of people who were recorded as reading the Guardian both in print and on its website.

When including the Observer as well, Guardian News and Media is shown to have an overall combined readership of 9.57 million.

Today's dataset relates to print readership figures from the NRS from April 2011 to March 2012 and online data from UKOM/Nielsen for April 2012.

In a statement a spokesperson from the Guardian said that the data "at last gives us a true picture of the reach of Britain's newspapers".

"We think this report shows the real value of our digital first strategy: we have built a larger audience than ever before for our journalism without resorting to stunts or bought-in celebrity fluff."

The Scotsman also has more online readers than print readers. It shows a difference of 104.7 per cent between its combined readership and print, with 481,000 additional readers.

The Daily Telegraph showed a combined readership of 8.82 million, which when compared to its print readership of 4.47 million, shows a difference of 97.5 per cent, or 4.35 million additional readers.

In the average results for daily readership, as opposed to monthly, the Telegraph came top for combined readership among quality titles, with 1.95 million readers.

In comparison the Guardian's daily combined readership was 1.72 million.

Looking back at the monthly results, The Times website, which launched a paywall in July 2010, saw the smallest difference between its print readership and its combined readership, of 3.8 per cent. Individually The Times recorded 5.52 million print readers, 295,000 website readers, and a combined readership (removing duplication) of 5.73 million.

Across the data, newspaper websites saw an increase of 20 per cent on average when website readership was included in the combined audience statistics.

Overall The Sun has the biggest combined readership for print and online for all UK daily national newspapers of 17.79 million, followed by the Daily Mail with 16.43 million.

Compared to Audit Bureau of Circulation results the National Readership Survey data released today does not include international readership or those accessing websites from devices such as smartphones, tablets or apps. The online figures are also measured by person using surveys, and not by browser.

Below are more of the monthly figures published today. The numbers shown, from left to right, are for print readership (NRS), online readership (UKOM/Nielsen) and the newly released combined readership.

The Daily Telegraph,
4.47m, 5.39m, 8.82m

The Guardian,
4.08m, 6.41m, 8.95m

The Independent,
3.12m, 2.58m, 5.32m

The Times,
5.52m, 295,000, 5.74m

Financial Times,
1.60m, 813,000, 2.34m

Daily Express,
4.22m, 486,000, 4.67m

Daily Mail,
11.77m, 6.82m, 16.43m

Daily Mirror,
9.12m, 1.91m, 10.59m

Daily Record,
1.83m, 647,000, 2.42m

Daily Star,
4.27m, 385,000, 4.61m

The Sun,
16.09m, 3.29m, 17.79m

London Evening Standard,
4.54m, 531,000, 4.94m

10.73m, 1.68m, 11.82m

(Dundee) Courier and Advertiser,
297,000, 96,000, 387,000

(Glasgow) Ev. Times,
449,000, 65,000, 513,000

The Herald,
483,000, 225,000, 697,000

The Scotsman,
459,000, 513,000, 940,000

Yorkshire Post,
675,000, 241,000, 907,000

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