Irish Newspaper Circulation January-June 2017

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The Island of Ireland report for the National newspapers ABC’s was released covering the period January to June 2017.

Looking at the overall picture, the market for National newspapers has fallen by 8.2% over the last twelve months.


That’s a decline of 94,000 copies over the same period last year.  There was a 7.6% decline for Sunday nationals or a reduction of 51,000 copies and an 8.9% decline for morning nationals equating to a 37,000 drop in their sales.

In the last five years, the market for Sunday newspapers has fallen by 32% or by more than 293,000 copies every Sunday. The morning market has fallen by 28% or 151,000 copies every day

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The Sunday market dropped 7.6% in the last twelve months to 621,000, a fall of 51,000 on the same period last year.

The biggest faller, in copy terms, in the Sunday market was the Sunday World falling 19,400 (-11.9%) on the previous year. This is followed by the Sunday Independent falling by 14,000 to 185,000 (-7.1%). They kept their bulk figure steady at around 12,000 copies; however, their drop in retail sales means that their actively purchased figure falls marginally. They had 2,000 subscribers to their digital offering in the first half  of 2017 (not included in the print figure).

Publication JJ 2017 JJ 2016 Diff Diff %
Sunday Independent  185,080 199,210 -14,130 -7.1%
Sunday World 143,503 162,938 -19,435 -11.9%
Sunday Business Post 30,202 31,364 -1,162 -3.7%
Daily Star Sunday 15,366 15,067 299 2.0%
The Sun (Sunday) 52,124 57,820 -5,696 -9.9%
Irish Sunday Mirror 22,931 26,628 -3,697 -13.9%
The People 8,684 9,878 -1,194 -12.1%
Total Tabloid 242,608 272,331 -29,724 -10.9%
Sunday Express 2,943 2,954 -11 -0.4%
Mail on Sunday 75,144 83,335 -8,191 -9.8%
The Observer 4,421 4,462 -41 -0.9%
Sunday Telegraph 1,734 2,068 -334 -16.1%
Sunday Times 79,833 77,455 2,378 3.1%
Total Sunday 621,964 673,179 -51,215 -7.6%

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The Sunday Business Post manages to hold the decline to 4% to leave them at 30,200. Within that figure is 1,800 of multiple copies. They also have a certificate for 1,100 digital subscriptions for the first six months.    

In the tabloid market, there were varying degrees of success/failure. The Sunday Mirror was one of the big fallers in the Sunday market down 14% year on year to 23,000. Its stablemate, The Sunday People, also fell dropping by 12% to 8,600.

The Daily Star Sunday actually managed to put on 300 copies year on year on the back of zero promotion for the title throughout the year.

The Sun on Sunday dropped 10% during the year to leave them at 52,000. However, their figure for the first half of 2016 got a serious lift from a half price promotion during the Euros so the first half 2017 figure was always going to look poor in comparison. 

The Mail on Sunday is down 10% to 75,144 which means that it falls behind the Sunday Times in terms of circulation for the first time in a few years. The Sunday Times are showing an increase of 3% year on year to 79,833.

However, that bountiful increase warrants more scrutiny – over the first six months of 2017, they have used their multiple copy sales facility which they didn’t in the first half of 2016 so it’s not really comparing like with like. Much of the increase in the 2017 figure can be attributed to the multiples as opposed to retail sales.

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 broad sun


A big faller in the morning market was the Irish Times dropping 9,500 copies or 13%. This includes bulks to the tune of 12%. They do have 15,000 digital subscribers which is a very healthy increase on the 9,800 they had at the same period last year. There is most likely an element of cannibalisation in the print figure where some of the declines in print have probably been replaced by an uptake in digital.

Publication JJ 2017 JJ 2016 Diff Diff %
Irish Independent 94,502 102,537 -8,035 -7.8%
Irish Times 62,423 72,011 -9,588 -13.3%
Examiner 28,338 30,964 -2,626 -8.5%
Daily Mirror 34,158 38,355 -4,197 -10.9%
Irish Daily Star 50,649 53,945 -3,296 -6.1%
The Sun 55,674 60,371 -4,697 -7.8%
Tabloids 140,481 152,671 -12,190 -8.0%
Daily Express 2,517 2,476 41 1.6%
Irish Daily Mail 41,190 46,544 -5,354 -11.5%
Daily Telegraph 2,180 2,434 -254 -10.4%
Financial Times 2,314 2,291 24 1.0%
Guardian 2,191 2,311 -120 -5.2%
The Times 3,728 2,587 1,142 44.1%
The Herald 39,093 44,085 -4,992 -11.3%
Total 418,958 460,910 -41,952 -9.1%

 morning bar

The Irish Independent had an average sale of 94,500 down 8,000 or 7.8% on last year. They had around 18% bulks within that figure which is a marginal increase on last year. Digital subscribers were 1,900 for the first half of the year.

The Examiner fell by 8.5% to 28,300 with a multiple copies sale of only 2%.      

The morning tabloids showed a collective decline of 8% with The Daily Mirror taking the biggest hit down 11% to 34,000. The Star finished just on the right side of 50k and The Sun dropped 4,600 or 8% to 55,600 (The Sun also ran a half price offer during the Euros in the first half of 2016)

The Daily Mail fell 11% to 41,000 and The Times are showing a pretty impressive increase of 44% year on year. Again, like its sister Sunday, the use of multiple copies which were not used in the Jan June figure last year account for that dramatic swing.

The Herald was down 11.3% to 39,000.

In the overview, the figure for the morning market, in the copy and the chart, does not include The Herald. It’s included in the total market along with the Echo. The rationale is that there was also a comparison to 2012 in that section when The Herald was an evening newspaper. It would have completely thrown the figures had been included in one year and not in another.

In the morning section, the Herald is included and that’s why there’s a difference between the overall morning figure in the overview and morning sections.  

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