Fall in circulation for all of Republic's daily newspapers

 

NEWSPAPER SALES in Ireland fell in the second half of last year, with all Irish-published daily titles and most Sunday newspapers recording lower circulations.

Figures released yesterday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) show that sales of The Irish Timesfell by 7.4 per cent in July to December last year compared to the same period in 2008.

The circulation of The Irish Timesnow stands at 106,926, down 8,536 copies on its average sale in July-December 2008.

The ABC’s Island of Ireland Report shows that the Irish Independent’scirculation fell 3 per cent to 149,906 in the second half of last year, down 4,704 copies on the same period a year earlier.

The Irish Examinersaw its sales slip below the 50,000 mark. Its circulation of 49,096 during the second half of 2009 was down 6.6 per cent – 3,448 copies – on the same period in 2008. The Star’s circulation fell from 97,862 to 91,062 - a drop of 6,800 copies, amounting to 6.9 per cent.

The proportion of “actively purchased” copies of The Irish Times, which excludes bulk sales and discounted copies, was 93.6 per cent. The percentage of the Irish Independent’s sales that were actively purchased was 86.1 per cent.

Among the evening dailies, the Evening Herald’s circulation dropped 7.4 per cent to 69,351, losing 5,576 copies, with its weekend edition falling 2.5 per cent to 42,910. Cork’s Evening Echorecorded a circulation of 22,844, down 6.8 per cent.

The Sunday market was also hit by falling sales, with the highest percentage decline recorded by the Sunday Tribune. The newspaper’s circulation fell 9.5 per cent to 60,344, down 6,328 copies on the second half of 2008.

The Sunday Independent’scirculation fell 0.8 per cent to 268,140, losing 2,222 copies year-on-year, while the Sunday Business Post saw sales decline by 4.9 per cent to 52,271, down 2,722 copies.

The Sunday Worldremained the paper with the highest circulation in the Republic, selling an average of 270,453 copies. This was down 5.2 per cent or 14,761 copies on the same period in 2008.

The report does not include British newspapers that publish Irish editions. However, separate ABC figures show that the Irish edition of the Sunday Timesincreased its circulation by 4.1 per cent to 114,413 – a rise of 4,414. The Sunday Mirror(up by 855 copies, to 39,831) and the Daily Express (up by 25 copies, to 3,386) recorded small increases in their circulations in Ireland. The Irish Daily Mail’scirculation fell by almost 9.7 per cent to 49,090. The Irish editions of the Sun and the Daily Mirror also declined.

The ABC report provides traffic figures for a number of websites, showing rte.ie with 2.93 million unique users per month. The next most popular news and media site, according to the most recent ABC audit, is irishtimes.com, with 2.3 million monthly users. Independent Digital, which includes a number of different news and classified advertising sites, also registered 2.3 million users, of which 1.8 million were visitors to independent.ie.

“The number of people interacting with The Irish Timesbrand has grown exponentially, and the challenge is how we deal with that as a business,” said Maeve Donovan, the managing director of The Irish Times Ltd.

“The economic challenge for newspapers is to find ways to expand their revenue base and fully take advantage of this rapidly expanding customer base.”

Ms Donovan said print sales across the market had held up “relatively well” given the depth of the recession. The decline in newspaper sales coincides with a sharp fall in consumer spending during 2009. Retail sales fell 14.1 per cent last year, according to figures from the Central Statistics Office.

“In the long haul, the big media brands – in particular the big media brands that are not debt-laden – are the ones that are in a position to tough it out and seek to gain share,” Ms Donovan said.

WEBSITES TRAFFIC FIGURES

The report provides traffic figures for a number of websites, showing rte.ie with 2.93 million unique users per month. The next most popular news and media site, according to the most recent ABC audit, is irishtimes.com with 2.3 million monthly users.

Independent Digital, which includes a number of news and classified advertising sites, also registered 2.3 million users, of which 1.8 million were visitors to independent.ie.