Broadsheet format stands tall for local newspapers
TELEPRINTER:The shift in the newspaper industry from broadsheet to compact formats is set to continue in 2013, but four Irish titles that won’t be downsizing are the Anglo Celt, the Meath Chronicle, Mullingar’s Westmeath Examiner and Athlone’s Westmeath Independent.
The four paid-for titles in the Celtic Media Group portfolio will stay as broadsheets, according to Frank Mulrennan, chief executive of the group, and its largest equity shareholder following a management buyout last June.
“I have made the decision to keep them broadsheets and the reason for that is differentiation,” says Mulrennan.
“We believe, with these newspapers, we can have a presentation that’s more attractive than a single-item tabloid.”
With a circulation of 12,300, Cavan’s Anglo Celt is the biggest title in the Celtic Media stable, followed by the Meath Chronicle, which sells 10,900 copies.
Both papers have benefited from the departure of competitors from the market in recent years, and Mulrennan predicts more titles will fall by the wayside.
“We expect to be in a strong position to benefit from consolidation in the marketplace. It has to happen – it has to,” he stresses, citing a 12-13 per cent decline in local newspaper advertising this year.
Mulrennan forecasts a further drop of 7-9 per cent in advertising revenues next year.
“The phrase I use is there are no surprises any more.”
The print format may be staying the same, but there is “an acute need”, Mulrennan says, “for a re-examination of the business model” in the newspaper industry.
At Celtic Media, that means pursuing contracts for its printing and pre-press operations, as well as running a centralised digital operation alongside its print brands.
“We have to be operating seven days a week, not just as a weekly paper that comes out on a Wednesday morning.”