Irish newspaper sales decline
Newspaper sales in Ireland fell in the second half of 2011, with the morning market declining 6.4 per cent and the Sunday market down 9.1 per cent, according to figures released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
Sales of The Irish Times fell 6.2 per cent in July-December 2011 compared to the same period in 2010. Its circulation stands at 96,150, down from 102,543, a drop of 6,393. Some 92 per cent of the circulation is actively purchased.
The ABC’s Island of Ireland Report shows the Irish Independent’s circulation fell 5.3 per cent to 131,161, down 7,349. Some 87.3 per cent of copies were actively purchased. The compact edition accounts for 72 per cent of sales.
Sales of the Irish Examiner dropped 8.5 per cent to 42,083 copies, down 3,928 copies.
The managing director of The Irish Times Ltd, Liam Kavanagh, said he was happy with the total audience measurement for The Irish Times, despite the fall in the number of print copies sold.
An ABC-audited figure for The Irish Times e-paper shows it has 2,023 digital subscribers as of the end of 2011. Mr Kavanagh said there were a further 1,687 subscriptions on other platforms, such as Kindle.
“This clearly shows a migration from the print edition to digital.”
Downloads of The Irish Times app have surged since it became free in November, Mr Kavanagh said. Including the Ticket app, total downloads for Irish Times apps stand at 143,000. Figures from Doubleclick also show Irishtimes.com is the second biggest news site in Ireland behind rte.ie.
Mobile accounts for a quarter of The Irish Times’ digital traffic, while access through tablets accelerated towards the end of 2011.
“There is a pattern of consumption developing for the newspaper, which is print - with some mobile - in the morning, web during the day and tablets in the evening," said Mr Kavanagh.
He said charging for content on Irishtimes.com was “something we would be looking at the potential of”, particularly in the context of business coverage and niche content. “Nothing is ruled in and nothing is ruled out.”
Print sales patterns are now “less predictable than they used to be”, he added. “We would be hopeful that the changes in the business offering would give us some lift from Monday to Thursday. We have also made changes to the presentation of the weekend edition and we will be looking at our offering again.”
The ABC figures show that the Evening Herald’s circulation fell 4.6 per cent to 62,411, while the Evening Echo plunged 12.5 per cent to 18,632.
The Sunday World reclaimed its position as the biggest seller, with circulation of 251,455, up marginally. the Sunday Independent’s sales fell 1.4 per cent to 250,641, while the Sunday Business Post has a circulation of 44,529, down 2.6 per cent.
Several tabloid titles appeared to benefit from the closure in July of the News of the World. The Sunday Mirror was the main beneficiary, climbing to a circulation of 66,403, up by 28,185 copies, or almost 74 per cent.
The Island of Ireland Report does not include British newspapers that publish Irish editions. However, separate ABC figures show British-published Sunday tabloids also enjoyed a boost in sales. The People’s sales rose 44 per cent to 28,390, while the Sunday Express advanced 8 per cent to 4,431.
The Irish Mail on Sunday had circulation of 114,114 in the Republic, up 3.4 per cent, while its daily counterpart had sales of 49,342 in the Republic, stable year-on-year. Among the daily UK tabloids, the Sun recorded circulation of 75,819, down 10 per cent. The Mirror had sales of 59,221 copies, down 3.1 per cent, while the Star’s sales were 74,710, down 11.2 per cent.
Meanwhile, the Irish edition of the Sunday Times has a circulation of 109,539, an increase of 2,630 copies or 2.5 per cent year-on-year.