ABC Newspaper Circulation December 2020

December is never a good month for newspaper sales, but couple that with a lockdown and it spells disaster. Just to try and get some comparative metric I’ve totalled all the papers that are providing data and that will be compared to the previous month and year.
It shows that this group (aka all bar News UK) are down 3% on the month and 10% on the year, which is not surprising and the papers are down 10% on their pre-covid levels.

The papers really feeling the pain are Daily Star Sunday, both Express titles and the Financial Times with only the observer showing and increase on the year.

TitleDec-19Nov-20Dec-19M/MY/Y% M/M% Y/YP.C.'000%
Daily Mirror23,51723,91725,289-400-1,772-2%-7%25,001-1,484-6%
Daily Record21420223512-215%-9%244-30-14%
Irish Daily Star32,36933,93536,132-1,566-3,763-4%-10%35,638-3,269-10%
The Sunn/an/a43,701n/a44,107
Daily Express1,4751,5571,716-82-241-5%-14%1,879-404-27%
Irish Daily Mail22,24122,48325,009-242-2,768-1%-11%25,299-3,058-14%
Financial Times1,7521,7342,12818-3761%-18%2,096-344-20%
The Guardian1,8151,8251,985-10-170-1%-9%1,52628916%
The Timesn/an/a2,679n/a2,556
Daily Star - Sunday7,3677,1819,555186-2,1882%-23%9,088-1,721-23%
Sun on Sundayn/an/a41,048n/a41,489
Sunday Mail523596
Sunday Mirror17,69618,21018,174-514-478-3%-3%18,416-720-4%
The People6,1916,7966,684-605-493-9%-7%6,414-223-4%
Sunday Express1,8531,5752,361278-50812%-22%2,324-471-25%
Sunday Post261
Mail on Sunday47,47149,93553,621-2,464-6,150-5%-11%54,498-7,027-15%
The Observer4,2174,7614,191-54426-13%1%3,80840910%
Sunday Timesn/an/a65,309n/a64,376

ABC Newspaper Circulation November 2020

The penultimate numbers of 2020. Most of the papers are now showing serious declines on the pre-covid numbers. Least we should forget, for the audited month of November Ireland was at level 3 restricting movement and work – certainly had a knock on effect on newspaper circulation

TitleNov-19Oct-20Nov-19M/MY/Y% M/M% Y/YP.C.'000%Released
Daily Mirror23,91723,65125,231266-1,3141%-5%25,001-1,084-5%16-Dec-20
Daily Record202215227-13-25-6%-11%244-42-21%16-Dec-20
Irish Daily Star33,93533,91037,32825-3,3930%-9%35,638-1,703-5%16-Dec-20
The Sunn/an/an/an/a44,107
Daily Express1,5571,4941,86463-3073%-16%1,879-322-21%16-Dec-20
Irish Daily Mail22,48322,75225,777-269-3,294-1%-13%25,299-2,816-13%16-Dec-20
Financial Times1,7341,6552,04979-3154%-15%2,096-362-21%15-Dec-20
The Guardian1,8251,7191,880106-556%-3%1,52629916%15-Dec-20
The Timesn/an/an/an/a2,556
Daily Star - Sunday7,1817,5449,478-363-2,297-4%-24%9,088-1,907-27%16-Dec-20
Sun on Sundayn/an/an/an/a41,489
Sunday Mail
Sunday Mirror18,21018,32117,939-111271-1%2%18,416-206-1%16-Dec-20
The People6,7966,5306,6462661504%2%6,4143826%16-Dec-20
Sunday Express1,5751,4252,336150-7616%-33%2,324-749-48%16-Dec-20
Sunday Post
Mail on Sunday49,93552,38454,723-2,449-4,788-4%-9%54,498-4,563-9%16-Dec-20
The Observer4,7614,2564,06750569412%17%3,80895320%15-Dec-20
Sunday Timesn/an/an/an/a64,376

Newspaper Circulation November 2020

ABC Irish Newspaper Circulation October 2020

Numbers for October arrived and it’s interesting to note that if you look at where some of the publications were pre-COVID-19 there are definite signs that the pandemic is having a real effect on some papers.

The Daily and Sunday Express are down substantially on their numbers in February. My own personal take on this is that both papers have a particular place in ‘middle-England’ which, without being ageist, does have a much older demographic. That cohort would be the group most encumbered by some of the recent restrictions. They would be higher risk group and because of this, maybe the group adhering strictly to the rules and restricting their movements – which could, in turn, be affecting the Express group sales.

The FT is another prime example of what the disruption in society and the working day can do for sales. Many previous FT readers are now working from home and their ‘paper of choice’, which miraculously appeared on their desks every morning in the City, is no longer readily, and freely, available.

A body of them, now facing having to fund that purchase themselves, have decided against that. Wrestling between buying the FT daily or having a mocha frappe magical unicorn latte with soy milk while walking the dog – the kit-kat and the canine wins out for many. So much for brand loyalty!

Anyway, here they are:

TitleOct-20Sep-20Oct-19M/MY/Y% M/M% Y/YP.C.‘000%Released
Daily Mirror23,65124,28825,175-637-1,524-3%-6%25,001-1,350-6%17-Nov-20
Daily Record215227237-12-22-5%-9%244-29-13%17-Nov-20
Irish Daily Star33,91033,47137,474439-3,5641%-10%35,638-1,728-5%17-Nov-20
The Sunn/an/an/an/an/an/an/a44,107n/an/a
Daily Express1,4941,5681,950-74-456-4%-23%1,879-385-26%17-Nov-20
Irish Daily Mail23,39123,30226,08289-2,6910%-10%25,299-1,908-8%18-Nov-20
Financial Times1,6551,6372,11818-4631%-22%2,096-441-27%18-Nov-20
The Guardian1,7191,7771,972-58-253-3%-13%1,52619311%13-Nov-20
The Timesn/an/an/an/an/an/an/a2,556n/an/a
Daily Star – Sunday7,5446,9999,746545-2,2026%-23%9,088-1,544-20%17-Nov-20
Sun on Sundayn/an/an/an/an/an/an/a41,489n/an/a
Sunday Mail
Sunday Mirror18,32118,81418,514-493-193-3%-1%18,416-95-1%17-Nov-20
The People6,5306,7216,910-191-380-3%-5%6,4141162%17-Nov-20
Sunday Express1,4251,9972,476-572-1,051-23%-42%2,324-899-63%17-Nov-20
Sunday Post288
Mail on Sunday52,69352,38454,784309-2,0911%-4%54,498-1,805-3%18-Nov-20
The Observer4,2564,2154,17841781%2%3,80844811%17-Nov-20
Sunday Timesn/an/an/an/an/an/an/a64,376n/an/a

Interestingly, looking at the year month on month you can see a distinct drop in April, a 10% drop month on month. But from there the sales of the papers under the microscope stayed fairly stable. If we re-base both years with January being ‘100’ you can see that the rate of decline 2019 was greater than it has been, so far, in 2020.    


ABC Irish Newspaper Circulation September 2020

Similar to last month, the numbers are coming in slowly and not in one tranche.

TitleSep-20Aug-20Sep-19M/MY/Y% M/M% Y/YP.C.'000%Released
Daily Mirror24,28824,60126,280-313-1,992-1%-8%25,001-713-3%13-Oct-20
Daily Record227242266-15-39-6%-15%244-17-7%13-Oct-20
Irish Daily Star33,47133,80339,363-332-5,892-1%-15%35,638-2,167-6%13-Oct-20
The Sunn/an/an/a44,107
Daily Express1,5681,5842,037-16-469-1%-23%1,879-311-20%13-Oct-20
Irish Daily Mail23,30223,22926,59873-3,2960%-12%25,299-1,997-9%14-Oct-20
Financial Times1,6371,5062,175131-5386%-25%2,096-459-28%14-Oct-20
The Guardian1,7771,7182,10659-3293%-16%1,52625114%15-Oct-20
The Timesn/an/a3,0062,556
Daily Star - Sunday6,9996,4669,835533-2,8365%-29%9,088-2,089-30%13-Oct-20
Sun on Sundayn/an/an/a41,489
Sunday Mail640654
Sunday Mirror18,81418,50718,2643075502%3%18,4163982%13-Oct-20
The People6,7216,4396,4082823134%5%6,4143075%13-Oct-20
Sunday Express1,9972,0142,523-17-526-1%-21%2,324-327-16%13-Oct-20
Sunday Post
Mail on Sunday52,38452,85156,126-467-3,742-1%-7%54,498-2,114-4%14-Oct-20
The Observer4,2153,9754,345240-1306%-3%3,80840710%15-Oct-20
Sunday Timesn/an/an/a64,376

ABC Irish Newspaper Circulation August 2020

Some numbers beginning to come through, more publications will report during the week.

The Daily Star dipped 14% on the month and they are down 41% since the start of this pandemic. Not they are normally in the same paragraph, but the Financial Times has fallen 39% since March. There are no numbers to indicate if there has been an increase in their online subs. The only paper showing any growth since March is The Guardian, but they are small numbers in the first place.

TitleJul-20Jul-20Aug-19M/MY/Y% M/M% Y/YP.C.'000%Released
Daily Mirror24,60124,84627,854-245-3,253-1%-12%25,001-400-2%15-Sep-20
Daily Record242235242703%0%244-2-1%15-Sep-20
Irish Daily Star33,80334,12640,350-323-6,547-1%-16%35,638-1,835-5%15-Sep-20
The Sunn/an/an/a44,107
Daily Express1,5841,5362,08048-4962%-24%1,879-295-19%15-Sep-20
Irish Daily Mail23,22923,16527,26264-4,0330%-15%25,299-2,070-9%16-Sep-20
Financial Times1,5061,5392,065-33-559-2%-27%2,096-590-39%16-Sep-20
The Guardian1,7181,7242,089-6-3710%-18%1,52619211%16-Sep-20
The Timesn/an/an/a2,556
Daily Star - Sunday6,4667,82510,030-1,359-3,564-14%-36%9,088-2,622-41%15-Sep-20
Sun on Sundayn/an/an/a41,489
Sunday Mail640814814
Sunday Mirror18,50718,90919,832-402-1,325-2%-7%18,416910%15-Sep-20
The People6,4396,8377,327-398-888-5%-12%6,414250%15-Sep-20
Sunday Express2,0141,9742,57540-5612%-22%2,324-310-15%15-Sep-20
Sunday Post304
Mail on Sunday52,85153,15054,899-299-2,048-1%-4%54,498-1,647-3%16-Sep-20
The Observer3,9753,9904,251-15-2760%-6%3,8081674%16-Sep-20
Sunday Timesn/an/an/a64,376

ABC Irish Newspaper Circulation July 2020

July 2020 ABC numbers are in and its a mixed bag. Some titles are doing better on the previous month and some are not. The column entitled P.C. means ‘pre-Covid’. Its just to focus on the increases or the falls when compared to the pre-pandemic numbers.
The standout number if the Financial Times which has lost 36% of it’s sales since the introduction of Covid19. It stands to reason with all the offices closed across the country, but it also indicates that its read – so long as someone else pays for the paper!

TitleJul-20Jun-20Jul-19M/MY/Y% M/M% Y/YP.C.'000%Released
Daily Mirror24,84623,51425,6261,332-7805%-3%25,001-155-1%18-Aug-20
Daily Record23520529630-6110%-21%244
Irish Daily Star34,12633,15839,399968-5,2732%-13%35,638-1,512-4%18-Aug-20
The Sunn/a46,41244,107
Daily Express1,5361,5101,96926-4331%-22%1,879-343-22%18-Aug-20
Irish Daily Mail23,16523,15226,89513-3,7300%-14%25,299-2,134-9%20-Aug-20
Financial Times1,5391,5872,083-48-544-2%-26%2,096-557-36%17-Aug-20
The Guardian1,7241,7881,997-64-273-3%-14%1,52619811%17-Aug-20
The Timesn/a3,0212,556
Daily Star - Sunday7,8258,68710,368-862-2,543-8%-25%9,088-1,263-16%18-Aug-20
Sun on Sundayn/a41,489
Sunday Mail
Sunday Mirror18,90918,43319,776476-8672%-4%18,4164933%18-Aug-20
The People6,8376,6517,041186-2043%-3%6,4144236%18-Aug-20
Sunday Express1,9742,0102,609-36-635-1%-24%2,324-350-18%18-Aug-20
Sunday Post
Mail on Sunday53,15054,65355,557-1,503-2,407-3%-4%54,498-1,348-3%20-Aug-20
The Observer3,9904,2144,147-224-157-5%-4%3,8081825%17-Aug-20
Sunday Timesn/a64,60464,376

Covid Comparison

Where are they now? It seems like as good a time as any to have a retrospective look at the market since the beginning of the lockdown, concentrating on how newspaper sales have been hit.

This has to be viewed with one large caveat in the News UK have not reported since February – as they are allowed to do under the Covid reporting rules.

It means that some 34% of the morning market is not represented (has not been reported) in the analysis and a hefty 52% in the Sunday market is a mystery as well, but it is worth seeing where things stand with the remaining publications.

The starting point is February on 2020 a pre-Covid ABC month. The comparative is June 2020, the last ABC month to hand. It shows that the morning papers under review have fallen by 7% in the intervening four months and the market Sunday has dropped by only 2%.

It is not exactly the fire and brimstone retribution that was inflicted on Sodom and Gomorrah that one might have expected or indeed have predicted might befall the industry before the mid-march lockdown.

Also, in the interest of all the facts on the table in 2019: again stripping out the papers that have not reported in the fist analysis and completing the same analysis for 2019, the morning market declined by 3% between February and June of that year and the Sunday market saw a decline of 6%.

So, very much a story of mixed fortunes and certainly not the bloodbath that one might have envisaged. However, to extrapolate that to the wider market would be based on the premise that the numbers in News UK are reacting the same

TitleJun-20Feb-20M/M% M/M
Daily Mirror23,51425,001-1,487-6%
Daily Record205244-39-16%
Irish Daily Star33,15835,638-2,480-7%
The Sun**44,107
Daily Express1,5101,879-369-20%
Irish Daily Mail23,15225,299-2,147-8%
Financial Times1,5872,096-509-24%
The Guardian1,7881,52626217%
The Times**2,556
Daily Compared Titles84,91491,683-6,769-7%
Daily Star - Sunday8,6879,590-903-9%
Sun on Sunday**41,972
Sunday Mail529604-75-12%
Sunday Mirror18,43318,620-187-1%
The People6,6516,609421%
Sunday Express2,0102,199-189-9%
Sunday Post274
Mail on Sunday54,65355,065-412-1%
The Observer4,2143,9252897%
Sunday Times**64,376
Sunday Compared Titles95,17796,886-1,709-2%

ABC Irish Newspaper Circulation June 2020

Not all of the numbers are in for June and as soon as they are, the table will be updated.

TitleJun-20May-20Jun-19M/MY/Y% M/M% Y/YReleased
Daily Mirror23,51423,02826,612486-3,0982%-12%13-Jul-20
Daily Record2052012324-272%-12%13-Jul-20
Irish Daily Star33,15832,16840,234990-7,0762%-18%13-Jul-20
The Sun47,317
Daily Express1,5101,4392,68471-1,1743%-44%13-Jul-20
Irish Daily Mail23,15223,02327,197129-4,0450%-15%15-Jul-20
Financial Times1,5871,6612,155-74-568-3%-26%16-Jul-20
The Guardian1,7881,8661,970-78-182-4%-9%13-Jul-20
The Times3,140
Daily Star - Sunday8,6878,55011,002137-2,3151%-21%13-Jul-20
Sun on Sunday
Sunday Mail529677-529-677-78%-100%
Sunday Mirror18,43319,11818,828-685-395-4%-2%13-Jul-20
The People6,6517,1216,840-470-189-7%-3%14-Jul-20
Sunday Express2,0102,1472,639-137-629-5%-24%13-Jul-20
Sunday Post
Mail on Sunday54,65354,23255,559421-9061%-2%15-Jul-20
The Observer4,2144,5414,0903051247%3%13-Jul-20
Sunday Times


ABC Irish Newspaper Circulation May 2020 (Covid19) Cert – update

The ABC have given publishers a bit of latitude during the pandemic and there is no definitive release date. So, since Monday two publishers have released their data (partially anyway). Reach Plc have released for the Star and Express titles, but not for the Mirror or People.

The only way to tackle this is, as then are released, I’ll update the table below and include the release date.

TitleMay-20Apr-20May-19M/MY/Y% M/M% Y/YReleased
Daily Mirror23,02822,53527,207493-4,1792%-15%19-Jun-20
Daily Record2011932468-453%-18%19-Jun-20
Irish Daily Star32,16832,21240,552-44-8,3840%-21%17-Jun-20
The SunNo Cert47,783
Daily Express1,4391,4532,041-14-602-1%-29%17-Jun-20
Irish Daily Mail23,02322,36527,412658-4,3892%-16%18-Jun-20
Financial Times1,6611,6481,79013-1291%-7%18-Jun-20
The Guardian1,8661,7382,120128-2546%-12%15-Jun-20
The TimesNo Cert1,928
Daily Star – Sunday8,5509,50410,478-954-1,928-9%-18%17-Jun-20
Sun on SundayNo Cert43,389
Sunday Mail529558725-29-196-4%-27%19-Jun-20
Sunday Mirror19,11817,88618,9341,2321847%1%19-Jun-20
The People7,1216,4116,98071014110%2%19-Jun-20
Sunday Express2,1472,4802,499-333-352-13%-14%17-Jun-20
Sunday Post241308
Mail on Sunday54,23251,86057,2222,372-2,9904%-5%18-Jun-20
The Observer4,5414,1573,9113056308%16%15-Jun-20
Sunday TimesNo Cert66,027

ABC Registrations

It was inevitable after IN&M abandoned the ABC that there would be followers. The Irish Times are no longer registered with the ABC bring with its stablemates The Examiner and Evening Echo.

So, the only titles still registered now are papers published here with sister titles in the UK or papers printed in the UK and shipped into the Republic on a nightly basis (see table).

So, the metric of ‘ABC audited’ is seen as being of no value to many of the publications here. In the UK The Telegraph pulled out of the ABC audit at the start of the year and last month News UK didn’t produce a certificate for April as they are entitled to under the new ABC Covid 19 rules.

Sunday IndependentNo Longer Registered
Sunday WorldNo Longer Registered
Sunday TribuneNo Longer Registered
Sunday Business PostNo Longer Registered
Daily Star SundayRegistered
Mail on SundayRegistered
Irish Sunday MirrorRegistered
The PeopleRegistered
Sunday ExpressRegistered
Independent.on SundayRegistered
The ObserverRegistered
Sunday TelegraphNo Longer Registered
Sunday TimesRegistered
Irish IndependentNo Longer Registered
Irish TimesNo Longer Registered
ExaminerNo Longer Registered
Daily MirrorRegistered
Irish Daily StarRegistered
The SunRegistered
Daily ExpressRegistered
Irish Daily MailRegistered
Daily TelegraphNo Longer Registered
Financial TimesRegistered
The IndependentRegistered
The TimesRegistered
Evening HeraldNo Longer Registered
EchoNo Longer Registered

ABC Irish Newspaper Circulation April 2020 (Covid19) Cert

This is a difficult one to pick through, given the lockdown and ever-changing rules from the ABC. First off, bright and early this morning, the ABC released ‘new reporting standards’ for newsbrands.

As of today, 21st May:

  • brands and opt for public or private reporting
  • they can use additional metrics above the mandatory ones
  • there will no longer be a monthly newsbrand report

If you read the detail of the new reporting standard it hands the keys of the henhouse over to the foxes! Most of the publications produced a cert for April. The date range was altered last month so the April ABC cert runs from 23rd March to 26th April.

Throughout the ABC site and on each cert there are stark warnings peppered about warning that these certificates should not be considered comparable to non-Covid 19 certs. It’s true. If you were a bean counter, you might classify them as exceptional items. But to see the impact that the pandemic had on the industry, the comparison must be made.

One group opted for private reporting and that was News UK. They didn’t publish a figure but have a note on their cert as to where the April data can be requested. I sent an email requesting the certs and, if I don’t die from holding my breath, I’ll publish the figures as soon as I get them!

As News UK opted for a private cert, it’s difficult to truly assess the market. Last month, News UK titles accounted for 55% of the Sunday market and 34% of the morning market, so the absence of those titles completely distorts any comparison (given is a shady comparison in the first place – lockdown vs normality).

Taking that into account the table shows that the market is down 16% year on year. Interestingly, the morning market is down 23% on the year and the Sunday 16%. Could it suggest that newspapers buyers would take the ‘risk’ of going out on a Sunday for the Sunday editions, but not necessarily on a daily basis?

There’s no point going line by line as, as I mentioned, the comparative is futile – but recorded nonetheless.

TitleApr-20Mar-20Apr-19M/MY/Y% M/M% Y/Y
Daily Mirror22,53525,55127,728-3,016-5,193-11%-19%
Daily Record193237276-44-83-16%-30%
Irish Daily Star28,36838,17441,504-9,806-13,136-24%-32%
The SunNo Cert45,76948,584
Daily Express1,4531,8952,072-442-619-21%-30%
Irish Daily Mail21,72625,34327,523-3,617-5,797-13%-21%
Financial Times1,6482,0632,181-415-533-19%-24%
The Guardian1,7381,9072,018-169-280-8%-14%
The TimesNo Cert2,6103,363
Morning Market
Daily Star - Sunday9,5049,81711,411-313-1,907-3%-17%
Sun on SundayNo Cert40,93245,296
Sunday Mail558636680-78-122-11%-18%
Sunday Mirror17,88618,40718,998-521-1,112-3%-6%
The People6,4116,7357,102-324-691-5%-10%
Sunday Express2,4802,3422,615138-1355%-5%
Sunday Post241261303-20-62-7%-20%
Mail on Sunday48,41154,59857,899-6,187-9,488-11%-16%
The Observer4,1574,1134,072305857%2%
Sunday TimesNo Cert66,85769,350305
Sunday Market

ABC Irish Newspaper Circulation March 2020

The apocalyptic landscape I thought I’d be painting for the March ABC’s didn’t materialise! The small change in the reporting period (see below) and the Cheltenham festival do seem to have worked in the favour of the newspaper market showing a monthly increase of 2% but a decline of 7% on March 2019.

Ten of the publications are showing and increase on the previous month and the morning tabloids taking the lion’s share of those increases.

None of the publications reported an exception in the March reporting period.

TitleMar-20Feb-20Mar-19M/MY/Y% M/M% Y/Y
Daily Mirror25,55125,00127,854550-2,3032%-8%
Daily Record237244251-7-14-3%-6%
Irish Daily Star38,17435,63844,0342,536-5,8606%-13%
The Sun45,76944,10749,8541,662-4,0853%-8%
Daily Express1,8951,8792,09416-1991%-10%
Irish Daily Mail25,34325,29927,60344-2,2600%-8%
Financial Times2,0632,0962,181-33-118-2%-5%
The Guardian1,9071,5261,944381-3720%-2%
The Times2,6102,5563,67454-1,0641%-29%
Morning Market*143,549138,346159,4895,203-15,9403%-10%
Daily Star - Sunday9,8179,08811,597729-1,7806%-15%
Sun on Sunday40,93241,48943,468-557-2,536-1%-6%
Sunday Mail63660364033-45%-1%
Sunday Mirror18,40718,41618,776-9-3690%-2%
The People6,7356,4146,800321-655%-1%
Sunday Express2,3422,3242,55418-2121%-8%
Sunday Post261264302-3-41-1%-14%
Mail on Sunday54,59854,49858,625100-4,0270%-7%
The Observer4,1133,8084,052305618%2%
Sunday Times66,85764,37667,9892,481-1,1324%-2%
Sunday Market204,698201,280214,8033,418-10,1052%-5%
Total Market348,247339,626374,2928,621-26,0452%-7%

The ABC reporting for March: The reporting period is 2nd March to 22nd March which is a week short of the ‘normal’ accounting period used. The April reporting period will be from March 23rd to the 26th April and May will be from April 27th to May 31st – each period being five weeks.

The March cert will be a normal certificate where a newsbrand can seek an exception (or exceptions) to particular days in the audit period. The exception rule that publishers can fall back on for this period is when circulation drops due to “reasons outside your control” and Covid19 certainly falls info that exception rule. If a publisher wants to exclude a day from the audit period the shortfall has to be at least 5% or more of the average normal net sale of the previous four equivalent issues (e.g. for a Monday compare to Mondays etc).

Given that we closed our schools ten days before the UK, newsbrands may have a different treatment of the exception rule for the two different jurisdictions in which they sell their publication.

ABC Irish Newspaper Circulation February 2020

The ABC’s for February have been published. Looking at the big picture, the market is down 13%. In the morning by 14% and the Sunday by 10%. But, given the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves, I really believe that the reporting for March, due on the 14th of April will show a collapse in newspaper circulation in Ireland.

If, and it’s a big if, the UK goes into lockdown how will the papers be produced, printed and distributed? In Italy, some of the publishers are arguing strongly that newsstands should be on the list of essential services during any lockdown. The ABC has already issued a note to publishers saying that they can exclude some editions on the basis that it would be seen as “reasons outside your control”.

Will this ‘encourage’ a digital uptake of newsbrands or will the public get the information it needs for the state broadcaster? Given that 1.6m people watched Leo at 9.00 pm on St Patrick’s night on RTE I think that might answer that question.

Finally for the few papers hanging on to the last remaining ‘bulks’ that route to market is, in these circumstances, going to completely disappear – no hotels, pubs, the travel restrictions and a lack of enthusiasm by people to sit in a chain cafe will see the end to those copies in the near future.

I present to you, below, what might be the last set of ‘normal’ ABC figures for some time.

TitleFeb-20Jan-20Feb-19M/MY/Y% M/M% Y/Y
Daily Mirror25,00125,81727,297-816-2,296-3%-8%
Daily Record244243242120%1%
Irish Daily Star35,63831,32541,8434,313-6,20510%-15%
The Sun44,10745,86650,042-1,759-5,935-4%-12%
Daily Express1,8791,9952,075-116-196-6%-9%
Irish Daily Mail25,29925,20328,71696-3,4170%-12%
Financial Times2,0962,2102,157-114-61-5%-3%
The Guardian1,5261,9751,908-449-382-24%-20%
The Times2,5562,6936,218-137-3,662-2%-59%
Morning Market*138,346137,327160,4981,019-22,1521%-14%
Daily Star - Sunday9,0889,59012,191-502-3,103-4%-25%
Sun on Sunday41,48941,97246,955-483-5,466-1%-12%
Sunday Mail603604617-1-140%-2%
Sunday Mirror18,41618,62019,292-204-876-1%-5%
The People6,4146,6097,087-195-673-3%-9%
Sunday Express2,3242,1992,487125-1635%-7%
Sunday Post264274309-10-45-3%-15%
Mail on Sunday54,49855,06560,021-567-5,523-1%-9%
The Observer3,8083,9253,978-117-170-3%-4%
Sunday Times64,37667,34571,488-2,969-7,112-4%-10%
Sunday Market201,280206,203224,425-4,923-23,145-2%-10%
Total Market339,626343,530384,923-3,904-45,297-1%-13%

Irish Newspaper Circulation July-Dec 2019 Island of Ireland Report

The ABC Island of Ireland report was released today, without the previous fanfare due to a much-depleted field. IN+M decided to withdraw from the ABC certification in August of 2019 and, as they accounted for a large share in the two markets (53% of the Sunday and 43% of the Morning market), we really don’t get a complete view with the recently released figures.

Just a quick point on the ABC. In August of 2019 we learned, on the morning of the supposed release of their data, that IN&M had decided that they were not going to use the audit service anymore. Then last month Telegraph Media Group decided that they too were finished with the audit and would not be publishing a figure for February 2020 and saying that “the ABC metric is not the key metric behind our subscription strategy and not how we measure our success.”

At one point there were over 100 brands in the Republic audited by the ABC, the figure now stands at five (only including brands that are categorised as “ROI Paid Newspapers”).

And now that I reflect (and to be honest missed earlier) – The Business Post has no certification for this period. It’s still registered, but no cert! Maybe a bit of spit-balling going on. 21/02: The ABC confirmed that the BP will not be filing figures for the December 2019 period. I can tell you no more…

Looking at the Mornings first.

The figures in the tables and on the charts are rebased to account for the absence of IN&M. But the papers under scrutiny here have recorded an 11.1% in print circulation. The graphic below clearly shows that the combined circulation of the papers continuing to be audited by the ABC has hit a new low in terms of a year on year decline.

The Irish Times managed a 7% decrease in print circulation, which, when you look at the market, was a decent performance. They also managed to decrease their reliability on bulks from 6,700 to 5,600. However, their stellar performance was in, their digital subs which they increased by 12% to 24,000 subscribers. The Examiner fell by 8% to 23,400 and the Evening Echo fell by %6 to 8,100.

The morning tabloids saw a collective drop of 12% with the Daily Star falling by 13.3% over the year and The Daily Mirror’s decline was kept in single figures in percentage terms. The Irish Daily Mail fell by 14% to 26,200 and the ‘on paper’ dramatic drop of 42% for The Times is simply down to the cessation of using multiple copy sales.

The rest of the papers are small in circulation and their figures are in the table below.

PublicationJD 2019JD 2018Diff '000Diff %
Irish Times54,14758,131-3,984-6.9%
Daily Mirror25,90928,632-2,722-9.5%
Irish Daily Star38,34144,233-5,892-13.3%
The Sun45,50952,121-6,612-12.7%
Daily Express1,9362,217-281-12.7%
Irish Daily Mail26,27130,424-4,154-13.7%
Daily Telegraph1,7521,956-205-10.5%
Financial Times2,1032,075281.3%
The Times3,8776,730-2,853-42.4%

The Sunday market did better than the mornings “only” declining by 9%, although beneath the surface where various outcomes making up that figure.

The Sun on Sunday also look like it had a rough year falling, on paper, by over 13%. However some of that fall can be attributed to their Damascian conversion in 2019 away from the loose morals of bulks.

The Daily Star in Sunday had a disastrous year falling by 23% (granted coming from a small base. Coupled with a ‘dump them and they will sell’ attitude to the market its not too surprising.

The Mail on Sunday fell by 7% as did the Sunday Times falling by 8% (and haven’t see the light then it comes to bulks like its sister publication The Sun on Sunday)

PublicationJD 2019JD 2018Diff '000Diff %
Sunday Business Post26,6520.0%
Daily Star Sunday9,83512,880-3,044-23.6%
The Sun (Sunday)42,68949,304-6,616-13.4%
Irish Sunday Mirror18,75020,249-1,499-7.4%
The People6,8367,421-585-7.9%
Sunday Express2,4802,607-127-4.9%
Mail on Sunday54,95259,204-4,252-7.2%
The Observer4,1974,161350.8%
Sunday Telegraph1,4391,581-142-9.0%
Sunday Times65,98571,586-5,602-7.8%

ABC Irish Newspaper Circulation January 2020

The ABC for January 2020 were released. It shows that the year on year for the Morning titles dropped by 14% and the Sunday down 15%.

Of note is the absence of a cert for both the Daily and Sunday Telegraph. They decided last month that they were no longer going to audit their newspaper circulation.

The ‘total market’ reflects this and their figures from previous periods do not form part of the total market.

TitleJan-20Dec-19Jan-19M/MY/Y% M/M% Y/Y
Daily Mirror25,81725,28928,628528-2,8112%-10%
Daily Record243235239843%2%
Irish Daily Star31,32536,13241,722-4,807-10,397-12%-25%
The Sun45,86643,70152,1292,165-6,2634%-12%
Daily Express1,9951,7162,027279-3214%-2%
Irish Daily Mail25,20325,00929,302194-4,0991%-14%
Daily Telegraph1,6691,956
Financial Times2,2102,1282,32782-1174%-5%
The Guardian1,9751,9852,101-10-1260%-6%
The Times2,6932,6796,29614-3,6030%-57%
Morning Market*137,327138,874164,771-1,547-27,444-1%-17%
TitleDec-19M/MY/Y% M/M% Y/Y
Daily Star - Sunday9,5909,55512,40535-2,8150%-23%
Sun on Sunday41,97241,04847,373924-5,4012%-11%
Sunday Mail6045966808-761%-11%
Sunday Mirror18,62018,17421,248446-2,6282%-12%
The People6,6096,6847,493-75-884-1%-12%
Sunday Express2,1992,3612,658-162-459-6%-17%
Sunday Post27426131713-434%-14%
Mail on Sunday55,06553,62161,0641,444-5,9992%-10%
The Observer3,9254,1913,993-266-68-7%-2%
Sunday Telegraph1,3991,502
Sunday Times67,34565,30973,4082,036-6,0633%-8%
Sunday Market206,203201,800230,6394,403-24,4362%-11%
Total Market343,530340,674395,4102,856-51,8801%-15%

ABC Irish Newspaper Circulation December 2019

The final numbers of 2019 were released today allowing us to see where the market (well those papers who are audited) ended up last year.

Just a courtesy look at December: It wasn’t as bad as it could have been, as December can go either way for the papers. But sales were down only 1% on the previous month – but -16% on the year, more on that later. In short, the month threw up no real surprises.

TitleDec-19Nov-19Dec-18M/MY/Y% M/M% Y/Y
Daily Mirror25,28925,23128,59958-3,3100%-12%
Daily Record2352272428-73%-3%
Irish Daily Star36,13237,32843,294-1,196-7,162-3%-17%
The Sun43,70144,07450,389-373-6,688-1%-13%
Daily Express1,7161,8642,031-148-315-7%-16%
Irish Daily Mail25,00925,77729,441-768-4,432-3%-15%
Daily Telegraph1,6691,6341,93635-2672%-14%
Financial Times2,1282,0492,25879-1303%-6%
The Guardian1,9851,8802,053105-685%-3%
The Times2,6792,6466,43633-3,7571%-58%
Morning Market140,543142,710166,679-2,167-26,136-1%-16%
TitleDec-19Nov-19Dec-18M/MY/Y% M/M% Y/Y
Daily Star - Sunday9,5559,47812,23777-2,6821%-22%
Sun on Sunday41,04841,76247,137-714-6,089-2%-13%
Sunday Mail5965323236427320%85%
Sunday Mirror18,17417,93920,267235-2,0931%-10%
The People6,6846,6467,05838-3741%-5%
Sunday Express2,3612,3362,41125-501%-2%
Sunday Post261271323-10-62-3%-19%
Mail on Sunday53,62154,72358,394-1,102-4,773-2%-8%
The Observer4,1914,0674,145124463%1%
Sunday Telegraph1,3991,3471,51552-1163%-8%
Sunday Times65,30966,19169,784-882-4,475-1%-6%
Sunday Market203,199205,292223,594-2,093-20,395-1%-9%
Total Market343,742348,002390,273-4,260-46,531-1%-13%

As the figures for the twelve months are available for the audited titles we can see where this portion of the market ended up. But going on experience, where the monthly audited papers ended up at the end of the year is highly correlated to where the papers who are audited every six months ended up! In short, the monthly ‘bundle’ is a very good reflection of the market as a whole.


Looking at the six month averages, the morning market fell by 14% which is a new low for that market. It was aided and abetted by decent declines in the tabloids.

TitleJD 2019JD 2018Diff+/- %
Daily Mirror25,90928,632-2,722-9.5%
Daily Record262264-2-0.8%
Irish Daily Star38,34144,233-5,892-13.3%
The Sun45,50952,121-6,612-12.7%
Daily Express1,9362,217-281-12.7%
Irish Daily Mail26,27130,424-4,154-13.7%
The Daily Telegraph1,7521,956-205-10.5%
Financial Times2,1032,075281.3%
The Guardian2,0052,009-4-0.2%
The Times2,8736,730-3,857-57.3%
Morning Market146,960171,357-24,396-14.2%

If you look at a twelve month average of the percentage change (by month) in the morning market, it shows that the recent past have really been tough on the market.


Turning to the Sunday market, their six month decline was a little more respectable turning in a decline of 9%.

TitleJD 2019JD 2018Diff+/- %
Daily Star - Sunday9,83512,880-3,044-23.6%
The Sun on Sunday42,68949,304-6,616-13.4%
Sunday Mail665656101.5%
Sunday Mirror18,75020,249-1,499-7.4%
The People6,8367,421-585-7.9%
Sunday Express2,4802,607-127-4.9%
Sunday Post287341-55-16.0%
The Mail on Sunday54,95259,204-4,252-7.2%
The Observer4,1974,161350.8%
The Sunday Telegraph1,4391,581-142-9.0%
The Sunday Times65,98571,586-5,602-7.8%
Sunday Market208,114229,989-21,875-9.5%

The twelve month average of the percentage change in the Sunday market shows shows a little more resilience than the morning.

Finally – the total market seen as a six month average, it too is at an all time low at 11%

ABC Irish Newspaper Circulation November 2019

November ABC’s were released and as per October, nothing much has changed, bar the 10%+ decline in sales over the year.The only really notable events were the collapse of the Sunday Mail circulation diving 26% to 532 copies and a 1% increase in the sale of the Sunday Times.

Market down 1% on the  month and  12% on the year.

TitleNov-19Oct-19Nov-18M/MY/Y% M/M% Y/Y
Daily Mirror25,23125,17527,50356-2,2720%-8%
Daily Record227237233-10-6-4%-3%
Irish Daily Star37,32837,47442,680-146-5,3520%-13%
The Sun44,07444,81550,503-741-6,429-2%-13%
Daily Express1,8641,9502,042-86-178-4%-9%
Irish Daily Mail25,77726,08230,007-305-4,230-1%-14%
Daily Telegraph1,6341,7051,861-71-227-4%-12%
Financial Times2,0492,1181,560-69489-3%31%
The Guardian1,8801,9721,940-92-60-5%-3%
The Times2,6462,7646,521-118-3,875-4%-59%
Morning Market142,710144,292164,850-1,582-22,140-1%-13%
Daily Star - Sunday9,4789,74611,434-268-1,956-3%-17%
Sun on Sunday41,76241,91149,147-149-7,3850%-15%
Sunday Mail532721602-189-70-26%-12%
Sunday Mirror17,93918,51419,731-575-1,792-3%-9%
The People6,6466,9107,128-264-482-4%-7%
Sunday Express2,3362,4762,522-140-186-6%-7%
Sunday Post271288342-17-71-6%-21%
Mail on Sunday54,72354,78460,789-61-6,0660%-10%
The Observer4,0674,1784,042-11125-3%1%
Sunday Telegraph1,3471,4191,539-72-192-5%-12%
Sunday Times66,19165,34174,342850-8,1511%-11%
Sunday Market205,292206,288231,618-996-26,3260%-11%
Total Market348,002350,580396,468-2,578-48,466-1%-12%

ABC Irish Newspaper Circulation October 2019

Another day… October ABC’s showing no signs of bucking the trend and if you look at the accompanying graphic, you’ll see that the trend is far from reversing.

The tabloids are down 4% on the month and 12% on the year with the Daily Star taking the biggest hit of just shy of 2,000. Elsewhere in the market the movements are small and there’s nothing shocking to report. The People however did manage a 8% month on month increase but I doubt it’s enough to save it’s hide in this market.

Market back 3% on the month and 12% on the year.

TitleOct-19Sep-19Oct-18M/MY/Y% M/M% Y/Y
Daily Mirror25,17526,28027,723-1,105-2,548-4%-9%
Daily Record237266241-29-4-11%-2%
Irish Daily Star37,47439,36343,425-1,889-5,951-5%-14%
The Sun44,81546,06451,480-1,249-6,665-3%-13%
Daily Express1,9502,0372,100-87-150-4%-7%
Irish Daily Mail26,08226,59830,102-516-4,020-2%-13%
Daily Telegraph1,7051,8131,858-108-153-6%-8%
Financial Times2,1182,1752,184-57-66-3%-3%
The Guardian1,9722,1061,940-13432-6%2%
The Times2,7643,0066,679-242-3,915-8%-59%
Morning Market144,292149,708167,732-5,416-23,440-4%-14%
Daily Star - Sunday9,7469,83512,126-89-2,380-1%-20%
Sun on Sunday41,91143,25349,147-1,342-7,236-3%-15%
Sunday Mail72165475767-3610%-5%
Sunday Mirror18,51418,26420,349250-1,8351%-9%
The People6,9106,4087,683502-7738%-10%
Sunday Express2,4762,5232,570-47-94-2%-4%
Sunday Post288296342-8-54-3%-16%
Mail on Sunday54,78456,12660,226-1,342-5,442-2%-9%
The Observer4,1784,3454,167-16711-4%0%
Sunday Telegraph1,4191,4591,556-40-137-3%-9%
Sunday Times65,34167,35171,779-2,010-6,438-3%-9%
Sunday Market206,288210,514230,702-4,226-24,414-2%-11%
Total Market350,580360,222398,434-9,642-47,854-3%-12%

ABC Irish Newspaper Circulation September 2019

As I suspected last month, the fickle nature of the sports reader kicked in this month with the three morning tabloids falling nearly 5,000 collectively. The lure of the start of the soccer season was short-lived – shorter even than the tenure of Ole Gunnar Solskjær in the premier league.

The Sun took the biggest hit dropping 2,000 on August or 4% on the month while the Mirror fell 1,500 and the Daily Star was back 1,000.

In the Sundays, there was some cheer for the Mail on Sunday which added 1,200 and the Sunday Times managed a three-digit increase.

The Sunday tabloids fell 4,600 perhaps like the morning red tops, the luster having dulled on the “foreign game”.

The market back by 2% on the month and (the magic) 10% on the year.

TitleSep-19Aug-19Sep-18M/MY/Y% M/M% Y/Y
Daily Mirror26,28027,85428,691-1,574-2,411-6%-8%
Daily Record266311259-457-14%3%
Irish Daily Star39,36340,35045,017-987-5,654-2%-13%
The Sun46,06447,98952,612-1,925-6,548-4%-12%
Daily Express2,0372,0802,303-43-266-2%-12%
Irish Daily Mail26,59827,26230,727-664-4,129-2%-13%
Daily Telegraph1,8131,8541,968-41-155-2%-8%
Financial Times2,1752,0652,204110-295%-1%
The Guardian2,1062,0892,02917771%4%
The Times3,0063,1236,796-117-3,790-4%-56%
Morning Market149,708154,977172,606-5,269-22,898-3%-13%
Daily Star - Sunday9,83510,03013,370-195-3,535-2%-26%
Sun on Sunday43,25345,05149,585-1,798-6,332-4%-13%
Sunday Mail654814685-160-31-20%-5%
Sunday Mirror18,26419,83219,543-1,568-1,279-8%-7%
The People6,4087,3277,174-919-766-13%-11%
Sunday Express2,5232,5752,680-52-157-2%-6%
Sunday Post296304333-8-37-3%-11%
Mail on Sunday56,12654,89956,1901,227-642%0%
The Observer4,3454,2514,115942302%6%
Sunday Telegraph1,4591,5371,575-78-116-5%-7%
Sunday Times67,35167,11271,210239-3,8590%-5%
Sunday Market210,514213,732226,460-3,218-15,946-2%-7%
Total Market360,222368,709399,066-8,487-38,844-2%-10%

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.

TitleAug-19Jul-19Aug-18M/MY/Y% M/M% Y/Y
Daily Mirror27,85425,62630,2192,228-2,3659%-8%
Daily Record3112963071545%1%
Irish Daily Star40,35039,39946,559951-6,2092%-13%
The Sun47,98946,41254,3031,577-6,3143%-12%
Daily Express2,0801,9692,443111-3636%-15%
Irish Daily Mail27,26226,89532,068367-4,8061%-15%
Daily Telegraph1,8541,8342,07420-2201%-11%
Financial Times2,0652,0832,113-18-48-1%-2%
The Guardian2,0891,9972,07792125%1%
The Times3,1233,0216,955102-3,8323%-55%
Morning Market154,977149,532179,1185,445-24,1414%-13%
Daily Star - Sunday10,03010,36813,780-338-3,750-3%-27%
Sun on Sunday45,05143,10650,5301,945-5,4795%-11%
Sunday Mail814675825139-1121%-1%
Sunday Mirror19,83219,77620,64256-8100%-4%
The People7,3277,0417,596286-2694%-4%
Sunday Express2,5752,6092,874-34-299-1%-10%
Sunday Post3043013453-411%-12%
Mail on Sunday54,89955,55758,802-658-3,903-1%-7%
The Observer4,2514,1474,281104-303%-1%
Sunday Telegraph1,5371,4741,66463-1274%-8%
Sunday Times67,11264,60471,8352,508-4,7234%-7%
Sunday Market213,732209,658233,1744,074-19,4422%-8%
Total Market368,709359,190412,2929,519-43,5833%-11%