Decline in newspaper sales slows, says ABC report

Daily morning sales market down 4.2 per cent while Sunday market retreats 6.5 per cent

The annual rate of decline in the Irish print newspaper market slowed down in the second half of 2015, according to figures released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC).

Sales in the daily morning market fell 4.2 per cent in July-December 2015 compared with the same period in 2014. The Sunday market retreated 6.5 per cent year-on-year.

The print circulation of The Irish Times now stands at 74,092 copies, down 3.6 per cent year-on-year.

The Irish Times Digital Edition had ABC-certified daily sales of 7,507 for the period, compared to 2,951 in the second half of 2014, an increase of 154 per cent. The ABC figures measure only a part of the paper's digital subscriptions base – they count sales of replica editions of the newspaper, which are sold as part of some digital packages.


This took the combined sale for the print and digital editions of The Irish Times to 81,599, up 2.2 per cent year-on-year.

Excluding bulk sales, the average number of actively purchased copies of the print newspaper sold each day is 64,377.

Separately, a year after it launched its digital subscription service, The Irish Times announced that its overall subscriber base has now risen to 40,000, including subscribers to digital, print and joint packages.

Liam Kavanagh, managing director of The Irish Times, said: “We are very encouraged by the growth in sales as reported by ABC and by the overall success of our reader subscription services.”

The Irish Independent's print circulation also fell 3.6 per cent year-on-year. It now has sales of 108,460, with the number of actively purchased copies dropping to 91,627.

The Herald, its sister paper, saw its sales fall 10.5 per cent to 44,317.

The Irish Examiner now sells an average of 32,648 copies, down 5.2 per cent, while sales of Cork's Evening Echo declined 12 per cent to 11,534. Both titles are owned by Landmark Media Investments.

The Irish Daily Star has a circulation of 50,199, down 5.7 per cent, while sales of the Irish Daily Mirror sank 14 per cent to 40,300.

The Irish Sun's circulation dropped 1.1 per cent to 58,463 year-on-year. Meanwhile, the circulation of the Irish Daily Mail in the Republic rose 2.3 per cent to 45,146.

In the Sunday market, the Sunday Independent remained out in front with sales of 211,856, down 3.3 per cent. The circulation of the Sunday World fell 7.7 per cent to 175,060.

Sales of the Sunday Times fell 7 per cent year-on-year to 80,023. The Sunday Business Post's circulation is 3.2 per cent lower than it was a year ago at 32,162.

The Irish Mail on Sunday fell 9.2 per cent to 80,920 in the Republic, while the Sun on Sunday rose 1.6 per cent to 55,779 copies. The Sunday Mirror plunged 13.3 per cent to 28,835and the People, owned by the Trinity Mirror group, sells 10,751 copies, down 14 per cent.

Sales of print newspapers in Ireland have been in retreat since 2007.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics