Irish Newspaper Bulks

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The issue of “Bulk Sales” is being feverously discussed across the pond due to some six national titles having to revise their monthly circulation figures downwards. This happened when the ABC noticed that the claimed bulk figures for the titles were higher than the the actual – you can read more in the Media Guardian on the topic.

But what’s the level of bulks here and who uses them? The answer is a little difficult as the reporting of circulation figures for the those who (kindly enough) release monthly data differs slightly from those who report six monthly. The only level ground between the two reports is that they all report the number of copies that they sell at the “basic cover price”, so that’s what I used as a comparison.

The gap between the Average Net per issue and copies sold at BCP is made up primarily of bulks, but also includes newstrade at below BCP, issue specific bulks and copies sold outside the Republic and the UK. Some papers have a much larger subscription base than others and that has a tendency to distort the picture slightly.

But for a quick analysis the table below gives an indication of the usage of bulks. The copies that are below BCP are ones that are usually found cluttering up the reception areas of hotels etc. The circulation breakdown shows where these copies end up – airlines and hotels being the big recipients.

TitleCirc@BCP% @ BCP
Irish Independent152,204127,99215.9%
Irish Times114,488100,71412.0%
Daily Mirror64,99764,9970.0%
Daily Record2,3322,3320.0%
Daily Star100,11299,8370.3%
The Sun96,44896,4480.0%
Daily Express3,7063,7060.0%
Daily Mail48,71448,2041.0%
The Daily Telegraph3,2733,2730.0%
Financial Times3,6843,3947.9%
The Guardian4,3714,2462.9%
The Independent1,4871,4870.0%
The Times3,0233,0230.0%
Evening Herald 71,18765,6337.8%
Sunday Independent 272,174249,4098.4%
Sunday World277,504276,8060.3%
Sunday Tribune65,72756,74013.7%
Sunday Business Post57,78357,3200.8%
Daily Star – Sunday57,24551,8639.4%
News of the World136,916136,9160.0%
Sunday Mail6,6986,6980.0%
Sunday Mirror41,72441,7240.0%
The People23,52723,5270.0%
Sunday Express5,1345,1340.0%
Sunday Post9429420.0%
The Mail on Sunday101,031100,5110.5%
Independent on Sunday1,9631,9630.0%
The Observer9,7629,7360.3%
The Sunday Telegraph2,7732,7730.0%
The Sunday Times111,584111,5840.0%
Market Total 3,834,1023,664,4904.4%

Some papers have a huge reliance on bulks. Of the 152,204 copies claimed as circulation, the Irish Independent had 17,905 (12%) as regular bulks and 3,858 (2.5%) at newstrade but below BCP (subscriptions?).