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More than half of those who read The Daily Telegraph in the UK now do so from mobile devices only, according to the latest National Readership Survey (NRS) figures released today.

Some 12.1 million people read The Telegraph on their smartphones or tablets, and not on desktop or in print, representing 52.8 per cent of the outlet's total UK audience of 22.9 million readers.

The Telegraph is the fifth UK newspaper to register a mobile-only majority readership, as reported by the survey.

Most readers of The Independent (63 per cent), the Daily Mirror (55.9 per cent), The Express (54.9 per cent), and the Guardian (51.7 per cent) also access stories on a mobile device only.

Malcolm Coles, digital media director at The Telegraph, said the outlet has been focusing on the quality of its digital publishing in the past year, with live blogging and mobile-first distribution channels such as Facebook playing a big role.

"The numbers are a way of recording the success," he said, "a sort of vindication of the strategy [and] likely to mean that we'll carry on doing what we're doing."

The Telegraph has also been working on providing more contextual and background information around news stories.

"We've got this whole system of explainer embeds that we put into articles to help people understand the context of what they're reading a bit more," he said.

"We've done this via timelines and explainer cards, and this has driven up our average time on page [metric]."

The Guardian, The Independent and The Telegraph also have the highest percentage of digital readers as part of their total national audience, at 95.2 per cent, 94.7 per cent, and 92.1 per cent respectively.

The only two newspapers which do not record a majority digital audience are The Sun (19.2 per cent digital) and The Times (14.2 per cent digital), two News UK titles that have been operating behind a hard paywall during the period of time reflected in the report.

The Sun's paywall is being dismantled from the end of November, but The Times will continue to operate with a digital subscription model.

The most read newspaper in the UK remains the Daily Mail, with 26.8 million readers across the country. However, the outlet has lost almost 3 million readers since the previous NRS figures, which reported 29.5 million national readers, were published.

The Guardian, with 23 million, is the second most-read, followed by The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mirror, which are both read by 22.9 million people in the UK across all platforms including print.

Data from the NRS PADD report covers the period from October 2014 to September 2015, integrated with comScore figures from September 2015. It represents monthly audience estimates for smartphones and tablets.
  • If you'd like to hear more about what mobile audiences want from news, or about The Telegraph's initiative to contextualise breaking news, you can still register for's news:rewired digital journalism conference, which takes place on 1 December in London.

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