ABC Irish Newspaper Circulation August 2019

After the relative excitement of last months abandonment of the ABC’s by IN&M, the August monthly figures are a bit of a damp squib. However, August always brings one certainty – a short-lived revival of the tabloid market on the back of the UK soccer season kicking into life again. Collectively the red tops added 4% month on month or short of 5,000. In comparison to August of 2018, it’s an improvement in both actual numbers and percentage (4,200 and 3%). The Sun on Sunday was also a benefactor of the soccer season adding 2,000. The Sunday Times had a decent month adding 2,500 or 4% and with no meeting in the bulks department. Market up by 3% month on month and down 11% on the year.

Irish Newspaper Circulation Jan-June 2019 Island of Ireland Report

Independent News and Media decided to ‘to resign its titles from ABC membership’ and therefore will not be reporting ABC figure for the current Island of Ireland report. Given that 22% of the reporting numbers in the daily market have vanished and 53% of the reporting numbers of the Sunday market have also disappeared it makes this report a ‘busted flush’. But in the spirit of stoicism (and as a hat tip to those publications that value audited metrics) I’ll press on with what remnants of data I have to hand. Overall year on year comparatives are meaningless at this point but I’ll ‘rebase’ them to reflect the bundles that we still have. The Sunday Business Post turned in a circulation of 25,740 which is a decline of 10% on the first six months of 2018. Their digital subscribers (not included in the 25K) were 3,073 which represents a 6% increase on the previous year. Their multiple copy sales represent about 16% of the total circulation figure. Their subscription and their digital sales are probably lower than where they should be for Ireland’s self-titled ‘economic newspaper’. By far the worst performer in the market was the Daily Star on Sunday

The end is (actually) nigh!

The end has come for the auditing of titles under the umbrella of IN&M. Their status earlier on the ABC website showed that the titles were ‘No longer registered’. The ABC confirmed: ‘Independent News & Media has made the decision to resign its titles from ABC membership. Effective from 20th August 2019, the Sunday Independent, Sunday World, The Herald and the Irish Independent ceased to be in membership. ABC figures for these titles were last published in our February 2019 Island of Ireland report for the reporting period ending December 2018. These figures have been audited’

ABC Irish Newspaper Circulation July 2019

July ABC’s: The tabloids, collectively, to a bit of a hammering dropping nearly 1,000 each. The month holds very little for the red-tops as there’s very little in terms of sport with the GAA only at the provincial stages. August will provide them with some sporting ammunition with the super 8’s, the hurling final and the return of the soccer season. The tabloids managed to tread water in the Sunday market. The Sunday Times ‘lost’ another 800 – but as I suspect some of that is a migration to the digital platform priced keenly at €5 a month. There no figures on the ABC to backup or refute that assertion and even a polite email to the press office across the water fell on deaf ears. The Times, in its full month without the dedicated ‘Irish edition’, managed to sell 3,000 copies roughly the same level is sold before the local edition ceased. Down 1% o the month and a worrying 12% on the year.

ABC Irish Newspaper Circulation June 2019

The ABC for June 2019 were released today bringing the first half of the year to a close. Tracking the newspapers with six months under their respective belts, the outlook is bleak. Year on year for the first six months of the year these papers are down 10.8% on the first six months of 2018. So, you can assume with some certainty that the Island of Ireland report next month will hold no good news. The only item of note is The Times ABC which ceased the Irish edition on 22nd of June and the cert covers 27 May to 30 June 2019.

ABC Irish Newspaper Circulation May 2019

May ABC’s were released today. In the morning market the tabloids lost ground over April collectively down by 2,200. The Times (Ireland Edition) dropped by 200 copies showing that, event given the negative press over the closure of the Irish edition there still is a cohort of people who are keen on the title. Given that the title takes (currently) in or around €1m every year for News UK, it would suggest that when the Irish edition closes (and migrates to digital) they should go back to pre-Irish edition and simply ship in the unvarnished UK edition to sit on Irish shelves. In the Sundays the Sunday Times dropped 3,000 copies on the month. There’s nothing to backup my fantasy that the digital promotion of a €5pm subscription is working and that’s why the print sales are declining. Market down 3% on the month and 13% on the month.

ABC Irish Newspaper Circulation April 2019

April 2019 ABC circulation figures were released. The trend remains the same with very little by way of anomalies. The bulks have remained off the majority of News UK title, bat the Sunday Times which is carrying roughly 3,000 bulks. The Sun and Sun on Sunday remain fat-free for the second month. The Daily Star dropped 2,500 on the month but that was mainly due to an increase in sales in March due to Cheltenham. In the Sunday Market, all remains the same. Month on month the market is static but down 12% year on year. Times Ireland closure The Times Ireland edition pulled the plug on it’s Irish print edition, but is maintaining the publication in a digital format. News UK have made a concerted effort to convert readers of the two Times titles to their digital platform with an offering of €5 per month. In the case of the print edition of the  Times Ireland, the reality is that their last ABC showed that they were only 800 copies to the better than their pre-launch ABC number.  

Mediahuis offer for IN&M

The speculation of the future of IN&M is a little clearer with a 10.5c bid from Mediahuis, a Dutch-Belgium based media organisation this morning. Like many media companies, their roots are in traditional media, but they have expanded into the digital arena with a variety of platforms – some of which may be of interest to current platforms in Ireland. Peruse the range of fingers in the various media pies below. One things that strikes me is that the suitor comes with a huge digital skill set and perhaps, with some localisation, easily transferred to an Irish context. IN&M already have interests in car platforms, recruitment, property and farming news, but this could be expanded. Perhaps Mediahuis can add the much needed digital portfolio/platforms. Whereas mergers/takeovers are sometimes looked at with some trepidation when you are an employee of the company being bought, I think, with a company with such a diverse digital portfolio like Mediahuis it could be a positive move. The print model is not the future. At this point for the majority of papers print is going through a slow death – the graphic below shows why publishers should be looking to diversify. Belgium: Along with the

ABC Irish Newspaper Circulation March 2019

Another day in paradise! The March ABC’s were released today and within them are a few fundamental changes. It looks as if News UK have had a change of heart/policy and all but canned their use of bulks across all their titles which is reflected by their ‘drop’ in circulation below. The Sun retained 300 against 2,500, The Sun on Sunday abandoned them completely as opposed to carrying 2,500 in the past. The Times (IRE Edition) is down to 500 from over 3,000 the previous month and the Sunday Times retained 2,800, but still down from 5,700 in February. The morning tabloids were spared a huge drop on the back of these policy changes except that the Daily Star had a decent month most likely spurred on by decent sales on the back of the Cheltenham Festival. Likewise, the drop that The Sun should have seen was cushioned by increases from Cheltenham sales and the net effect was a fall of only 200 copies – indicating they increased their paid for sales in March by about 2,200 copies. In April, and post the Cheltenham effect, all will be laid bare. It might make for uncomfortable reading for some publishers still

ABC Irish Newspaper Circulation February 2019

The February ABC is released. The morning market is continuing its trend of a year on year decline of 10% and no sign of any floor being hit or a slowing in this decline. The Tabloids are down 3% on the month bar the Daily Star which managed to hand on to its numbers from last month. in the Sundays, the monthly fall is the same as the daily at -3%. The year is down 9% and you have to take into account that the comparative month last year was, in the latter part, pretty dismal weather wise.   Title Jan-19 Jan-19 Feb-18 M/M Y/Y % M/M % Y/Y Daily Mirror 27,297 28,628 30,183 -1,331 -2,886 -5% -10% Daily Record 242 239 234 3 8 1% 3% Irish Daily Star 41,843 41,722 47,401 121 -5,558 0% -12% The Sun 50,042 52,129 55,584 -2,087 -5,542 -4% -10% Tabloids 119,424 122,718 133,402 -3,294 -13,978 -3% -10% Daily Express 2,075 2,027 2,351 48 -276 2% -12% Irish Daily Mail 28,716 29,302 32,241 -586 -3,525 -2% -11% Daily Telegraph 1,805 1,956 1,912 -151 -107 -8% -6% Financial Times 2,157 2,327 2,274 -170 -117 -7% -5% The Guardian 1,908 2,101 1,954 -193 -46 -9% -2%

Irish Newspaper Circulation July-Dec 2018 Island of Ireland Report

The latest ‘Island of Ireland’ report was released today and, if nothing else, it outlines the continuing decline of newspaper circulation in Ireland. The report compares newspaper sales for the last six months of 2018 to the same period in 2017. Looking at the overall figure first, it shows that year on year, newspaper sales have declined by 10% in the twelve months. The Sunday market fell by -9.3% and the morning market by -10.1%. A double-digit decline in the total market had not been experienced before, the closest being a 9.4% decline in 2010. That last testing of the -10% mark can be ‘explained away’ by one set of figures (2009) containing sales of the Sunday Tribune and the comparative (2010) set is without those sales because of its closure – thus the 9% decline. Tables don’t love mobile! PDF of all the tables here Market JJ 2018 JJ 2017 Diff ‘000 Diff % Total Sunday 544,073 599,794 -55,721 -9.3% Total Morning 367,558 408,710 -41,152 -10.1% Total Market* 920,190 1,017,953 -97,763 -9.60% The plunge into the double-digit decline could have been lessened, and possibly kept the market just into the single digit decline, except for policy changes by one

ABC Irish Newspaper Circulation January 2019

The first ABC of 2019 was released earlier. Many of the papers with a monthly ABC saw a bounce in comparison to December, a notoriously slow month in the first place. However, in comparison to their sales the previous January, they are all well off the mark. The Daily Star had a bad month, dropping 1,500 on the month and those sales would seem to have gone to The Sun whose circulation is up 1,700 on the month. The Mail on Sunday gained 2,600 and the Sunday Times also up 3,600 – but both trailing where they were this time last year. Edit Title Jan-19 Dec-18 Jan-18 M/M Y/Y % M/M % Y/Y Daily Mirror 28,628 28,599 31,177 29 -2,549 0% -8% Daily Record 239 242 241 -3 -2 -1% -1% Irish Daily Star 41,722 43,294 46,372 -1,572 -4,650 -4% -10% The Sun 52,129 50,389 57,359 1,740 -5,230 3% -9% Tabloids 122,718 122,524 135,149 194 -12,431 0% -9% Daily Express 2,027 2,031 2,377 -4 -350 0% -15% Irish Daily Mail 29,302 29,441 32,439 -139 -3,137 0% -10% Daily Telegraph 1,956 1,936 2,003 20 -47 1% -2% Financial Times 2,327 2,258 2,367 69 -40 3% -2% The Guardian 2,101 2,053 2,122

ABC Irish Newspaper Circulation December 2018

It’s the final ABC of 2018 and allow as us to access how the last half of the year have fared for the print brands. December is down 2% on the month and 10% on December 2018 with the morning market doing marginally better than the Sunday.  The tabloids had a decent month with most of them opting to exclude their sales from 24th to 28th – which is perfectly legitimate. We have to wait until the 21st of February for the release of the ‘Island of Ireland’ report, but I suspect that the figures will be poor. When the ABC released the June ABC (2018) I looked at the select titles here* and they were showing a decline of 8% year on year. When the ‘Island of Ireland’ was released (August 2018) it showed that the total market had contracted by 8%! So, the monthly ABC’s are a decent bellwether for the overall market. Looking at the year on year for the titles that are audited monthly, it shows that they are down 10% on the year.  If history repeats itself, the newspaper market here is in for a double-digit decline year on year.

ABC Irish Newspaper Circulation November 2018

November ABC’s are available and there’s little to report. The market stayed level month on month and 9% down on the year.  While the morning market was dawn 2% the Sunday market stayed steady mainly down to a 4% increase in circulation for the Sunday Times and that was keeping bulks at the same level as last month

ABC Irish Newspaper Circulation October 2018

October ABC’s were released earlier and there are no real surprises. The morning tabloids took a 3% hit on the month but the Sunday tabloids had a decent month. The Mail on Sunday gained 7% or 4,000 copies on the month. The people also managed to add 7% albeit 500 copies. Beneath all the numbers is the worrying underlying trend of the year on year difference. For the past five monthly sets of figures, the year on year difference has fallen into double digits. Again, it’s not time to sound the claxon and dive under the desks, but, however, it’s a figure that is worth watching. You can see from the accompanying chart that you have to go back some way to try and see when it last threatened the double digit zone. (the two spikes can be explained 1) the world cup 2) a decent month as it was August and comparing titles with bulks who didn’t the previous year!)   Title Oct-18 Sep-18 Oct-17 M/M Y/Y % M/M % Y/Y Daily Mirror 27,723 28,691 31,564 -968 -3,841 -3% -12% Daily Record 241 259 271 -18 -30 -7% -11% Irish Daily Star 43,425 45,017 47,892 -1,592 -4,467 -4% -9%

ABC Irish Newspaper Circulation September 2018

It’s a pattern that is mirrored nearly year – a boost in August and a drift back to normality in September when the gloss has gone off the first few weeks of the soccer season. The morning market was down -4% this month back from a +4% increase in September. The composition, in this analysis, of the morning market is dominated by the tabloids, the cohort most susceptible to the goings on in the Premier League. The Sundays continued on the downward trajectory back -3% on the month – the Sunday Mirror and People having a bad month. Overall market down 3% on the month, 12% on the year. Title Sep-18 Aug-18 Sep-17 M/M Y/Y % M/M % Y/Y Daily Mirror 28,691 30,219 32,170 -1,528 -3,479 -5% -11% Daily Record 259 307 290 -48 -31 -16% -11% Irish Daily Star 45,017 46,559 49,782 -1,542 -4,765 -3% -10% The Sun 52,612 54,303 56,969 -1,691 -4,357 -3% -8% Tabloids 126,579 131,388 139,211 -4,809 -12,632 -4% -9% Daily Express 2,303 2,443 2,593 -140 -290 -6% -11% Irish Daily Mail 30,727 32,068 37,761 -1,341 -7,034 -4% -19% The Daily Telegraph 1,968 2,074 2,132 -106 -164 -5% -8% Financial Times 2,204 2,113 2,318 91 -114

Irish ABC Circulation August 2018

August brought some much needed good news to the beleaguered newspaper market – a month on month increase in sales and the last time that occurred was August ’17. That’s actually no coincidence as August has always been kind to publishers. This August there was a bevy of large events: the two All Ireland finals took place, whereas they were normally played in September. We had the Papal visit, but I suspect that was more in the arena of the visual media and, more importantly, the ‘foreign game’ returned (a phrase much used in GAA circles pre ’71!). All these aligned to boost the coffers of publishers and retailers alike. Naturally the big winners in August were the tabloids, given their preoccupation with all things soccer, with the Irish Daily Star taking the bulk of the increase in sales. The Mirror also increased just over 1,000 and The Sun seemed to be unable to capitalise on all the extra activity increasing by 800 copies. Even the lure of papal coins couldn’t save the Irish Mail on Sunday dipping by over 2,000. Conversely the Sunday Times had a better month (even with bulks saying at the same level as July) increasing

Irish ABC Newspaper Circulation January-June 2018

The ABC’s for the first half of 2018 were released earlier today. It shows that the newspaper market had contracted by a further 7.1% over the year. The market annual rate of decline hasn’t been below -6% since 2009 and that’s a statistic that doesn’t need further commentary. The Morning market was down slightly more than the Sunday. The stark reality for the industry is that newspaper circulation has halved over the past decade alone. Market JJ 2018 JJ 2017 Diff ‘000 Diff % Total Sunday 577,937 621,119 -43,182 -7.0% Total Morning 384,618 418,958 -34,339 -8.2% Total Market* 2,939,714 3,194,145 -249,217 -7.8% Sunday Market The Sunday market now stands at 578,000 copies per day, a decrease of 43,000 on the same period in 2017. It represents a drop of 7.0% over the year and continues a worrying trend of year on year declines with no signs of any slowing (see the Sunday trend in the Annual Rate of Change chart below) and actually, the trend seems to have settled between 6% and 8% over the past five years. Publication JJ 2018 JJ 2017 Diff ‘000 Diff % Sunday Independent 176,580 185,080 -8,500 -4.6% Sunday World 130,083 143,503 -13,420 -9.4% Sunday