Irish Daily Newspaper Circulation Jan June 2011

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The morning market declined by 5% year on year in 2011 (not too bad in comparison to the 11% fall in the Sunday Market) and sees it drop below the 600,000 mark. Just to ram home the recessionary point, the morning market hasn’t seen an increase in sales since 2007.

PublicationJJ 2011JJ 2010Diff ‘000Diff %
Irish Independent134,228144,896-10,668-7%
Irish Times100,951105,742-4,791-5%
Daily Mirror61,99860,4181,5803%
Irish Daily Star87,12193,630-6,509-7%
The Sun79,89386,453-6,560-8%
Daily Express2,9602,966-60%
Irish Daily Mail51,07250,5155571%
Daily Telegraph2,9342,872622%
Financial Times3,5393,653-114-3%
The Independent9601,143-183-16%
The Times2,2622,561-299-12%
Total 575,562605,354-30,346-5%

The Irish Times just managed to stay above the 100,000 mark. The paper joined that particular club way back in 1996 and it’s a trophy that it would be very reluctant to give up. So much so that the surgeons in the paper’s circulation department are applying (very legitimate) cosmetic surgery in order that the paper preserves its looks.

The Botox in this case comes in the form of ‘bulks’, a procedure that many of the papers indulge in. In the I.T’s case bulks makes up about 6% of the total ‘sale’. The Irish Independent is receiving the very same treatment, but its dosage is in double figures, with bulks currently making up some 12% of its figure.

The Irish Independent was the biggest faller (in copy sales terms anyway) declining by 10,600 copies in 12 months. Stripping out the bulks, the tangle between the compact and broadsheet is working out at roughly 70/30 in favour of the compact.

Full rate sales of the I.I. are about 118,000 copies a day of which about 36,000 are broadsheet. The question in this economic climate would be: how die-hard and loyal to the broadsheet format is that body of 40,000 purchasers?

If the broadsheet wasn’t available would they choose the compact? Talbot Street is running parallel production every night for the Independent. It’s not quite replication as it’s only at the prepress stage the duel production is seen.

Would the potential savings of running a compact only edition be worth the risk of “offending” the 40k broadsheet purchasers? I’m sure their bean counters have the costs of the parallel production at the ready, but who knows the how the masses would vote in the absence of their beloved broadsheet.

The tabloids fared badly in the 12 months. The Sun is back 8% to 79,000 copies and The Star down 7% to 87,000. The Daily Mirror, like its sister Sunday, is the only paper to buck the trend and is up 3% on the year. Likewise the Daily Mail managed to add 1% to its figure (with about a 4% surgical solution!)

The other papers in the market only make up 3% of the overall.

The two graphs show vividly the rise and fall of the morning market. The first is copy sales from 1998 and the second is the market indexed to 1998. Interestingly in the morning market that the tabloids were by far the winners during the boom whereas in the Sunday market the tabloids didn’t experience the same kick.

At their height the tabloids were selling 306,000 copies every morning compared to the 230,000 they sell daily currently.

And, just to make the point about the lightening speed of some of the print media: