The rebranding and shifting of times of the Evening Herald, soon to be ‘The Herald’, is an interesting move by IN&M. But moving a paper into an extremely crowded morning market may not seem as risky as it might at first glance.
The Evening Herald’s readership profile is firmly rooted in Grater Dublin with close to 90% of their readership in that area. Moving the title to a morning slot means that it will now compete with some of its stable mates, some more than others. It will compete somewhat with the Irish independent although I can’t see too much of that readership being eroded by the introduction of the Herald to the morning market.
The Irish Daily Star will certainly feel the pinch with the introduction of the Herald, as will the Sun and Mirror. The Herald will join the latter two papers selling at €1 with the Daily Star sticking to a ‘premium’ cover of €1.40.
I find it difficult to see The Herald maintaining the 58,000 sales it currently enjoys in the evening market now. First off there will be a body of people who might buy a morning paper at the moment and the Herald in the afternoon – they are now going to be asked to make a choice. Similarly, there is a group of people who only buy the Herald and prefer the slot in the afternoon so maybe they will quit the market altogether.
But there are some serious cost issues that might offset the reductions in cover price revenue. IN&M currently have to distribute the Evening Herald solo, which has to be an expensive venture. By moving to the morning slot they can be delivered by Newspread along with a myriad of titles and thus sharing the costs.
Likewise in the areas of print and prepress will be savings as there will be no need for a second shift in the print plant to print the Herald “solo”. The Herald can be printed alongside the Irish Independent probably with a marginal increase in staffing. The savings in distribution and printing on their own could be significant, enough to allow for a drop in sales.
But still, it’s a very crowded market. There will now be 14 titles on the shelf to choose from, and in the capital 60,000 Metro Heralds being given out free every morning, I struggle to see where the Herald will sell 50,000 copies every morning.