At the outset I’d apologise on behalf of the Newspaper industry: the table below is a numerical assault on the eye – but we now have three metrics for each year: Print & Display, Print Only and Display only. I’d forward a second apology (not on behalf of the industry) directed at the readers of this analysis and it would be on the back of the lack of meaningful data.
Personally, I find some of the readership data going against the grain of more concrete data. In concrete I mean that the audited ABC figures which I find a more robust measure of the state of the industry. The readership data of late somewhat flies in the face of the audited numbers in places and the charts below will clarify that point abundantly.
The table below sets out the readership figures for the papers that subscribe to the survey. I think a line by line analysis is futile and wasteful as the numbers speak for themselves. Admittedly it’s also because I lack the motivation on this one given my thinking in the paragraph above.
|The Irish Times||427||317||159||388||301||136||39||16||23||9%||5%||14%|
|Irish Daily Star||326||310||20||310||303||9||16||7||11||5%||2%||55%|
|Irish Sun (Mon-Sat)||299||280||21||329||321||16||-30||-41||5||-10%||-15%||24%|
|Irish Daily Mirror||233||191||52||226||216||18||7||-25||34||3%||-13%||65%|
|Irish Daily Mail||217||172||53||227||187||49||-10||-15||4||-5%||-9%||8%|
|The Sunday Times||367||340||44||407||387||37||-40||-47||7||-11%||-14%||16%|
|Irish Mail on Sunday||296||281||20||340||329||16||-44||-48||4||-15%||-17%||20%|
|Irish Sun (Sunday)||237||230||11||275||272||9||-38||-42||2||-16%||-18%||18%|
|Irish Sunday Mirror||150||134||19||169||164||8||-19||-30||11||-13%||-22%||58%|
|Sunday Business Post||113||109||8||118||107||13||-5||2||-5||-4%||2%||-63%|
Firstly, there’s always going to be some crossover in places between those that access a brand via digital and print which has a distorting effect on the numbers.
The survey concludes that four papers saw an increase in their combined print and digital readership over the year. It also concludes that two papers, the Irish Times and the Daily Star actually increased their print readership over the year. I can’t comment on the Irish Times as their circulation numbers up to June 2015 will be released next week so that data is not available.
However, given that The Daily Star’s circulation for the same period as the readership survey is down 5%, I find it difficult to swallow that their print readership is up.
All the papers saw an increase in their digital readership and some in fairly spectacular fashion. The Daily Mirror, for example, added 68% to their digital readership and The Herald 78%. It re-affirms that there still a healthy appetite for free news.
The Sundays also saw an increase in their digital readership across the board and a decrease in their print readership – all bar the SBP where this was reversed. It should be noted that the SBP is behind a paywall so it won’t have the same gains as the free news sites.
In terms of ratios the non-tabloids have a much higher incidence of digital to print readership ratios. I could be suggested that readers of those brands have better access to a digital platform to view these sites on a daily basis – many being office bound.
Circulation is falling, print readership is falling, digital readership is increasing – the latter is, in most instances, as loss leader for a publisher. I don’t see the cause for celebration in these numbers and many of the commenting today on them has been merely an exercise in “shining up sh1t”.