News station

Although the rise of the internet has brought major change to the newspaper industry, the Joint National Readership Survey (JNRS) 2013/2014, nevertheless finds that print remains the dominant medium and the majority of online readers are choosing to read in print in addition to online sources. Gillian Hamill reports  


Brand Central

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17 October 2014

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOver four in five adults in Ireland read newspapers regularly, according to the Joint National Readership Survey (JNRS) 2013/2014, which was released earlier this year in August. This translates into over three million adults in Ireland regularly reading newspapers in print or online.

The report found that print remains the dominant medium for newspaper content, with 2.9 million people having read a printed newspaper title within the past week and half a million having read a newspaper title online within the past week. The data demonstrates a very high cross-over amongst print and digital readers, with three-quarters of online readers also reading in print.

“National Newspapers of Ireland (NNI) is delighted to see that over 83% of adults in Ireland read newspapers. We are particularly encouraged to find that online readership is growing at a rate of 26% year-on-year,” said Dara McMahon, coordinating director of NNI.

file0001037439012“This is an extremely impressive level of growth and we expect to see this trend continue. However, print remains the dominant medium and JNRS 2013/2014 finds that the majority of online readers are choosing to read in print in addition to online sources. This demonstrates that print and digital formats have different applications in different circumstances, often for the same people,” McMahon added.

JNRS 2013/2014 demonstrates that online readership has increased by 26% year-on-year. The national figure for average issue readership (AIR) now stands at 15.7%, up from 12.5% just one year ago.

However, the true picture of online newspaper readership is one that differs greatly across demographic groups. Social group remains the most significant determining factor in suggesting that someone will read their newspapers online, with 37% of those who fall into the AB group choosing to read online. Those who live in the capital are more likely to read a digital format, with 23% of Dubliners choosing to read online, compared with just 14% of the adult population in the rest of the country. Age also plays a role, with the under 45s more likely to read online (21%) than those over 45 years old (12%). These factors are compounded when combined.

Mail nails it!

irish daily mail and daily mail logosDavid Vaz, circulation manager, Associated Newspapers, explains how clever strategies in terms of editorial and promotions, have enabled both the Irish Daily Mail and The Irish Mail on Sunday to increase market share

Latest circulation figures

In what has been a very challenging time, the Irish Daily Mail recorded sales of 51,740 for the January to June 2014 period, in comparison the daily market overall was down by over 7% in the same period. The Irish Mail on Sunday recorded a sale of 100,151 copies. The Irish Daily Mail increased market share by 0.4% and The Irish Mail on Sunday increased share to 12.8%.

The latest JNRS figures were released recently, with over 80% of the population reading a newspaper. The Irish Daily Mail has 187,000 readers. You magazine, which comes free with the Irish Daily Mail every Saturday, recorded a figure of 146,000. The Irish Mail on Sunday remains strong with 329,000 readers each week. TV Week which is free every Sunday, with The Irish Mail on Sunday claimed 208,000. Both the Irish Daily Mail and The Irish Mail on Sunday have an exceptionally strong profile in the market for ‘main shoppers’ with over 60% in this highly sought after category.

These results show the benefits of providing readers great value and delivering the best news and sport whilst continuing to invest in our products.

Promotional plans

Investments in good value promotions have continued to deliver brilliant sales results, with some excellent sales increases. Road Atlas, both daily and Sunday versions were very successful and throughout we produced some wonderful part-works covering lifestyle, finance, gardening and property. We have also invested in retail promotions which have been a proven success. As this magazine goes to press, we will have run another One Direction weekend giveaway, with a free poster and interactive preview disc. We will continue to look at new ideas to increase sales and our January to June results are once again proving that our strategies are working and we plan to build on these successes in the coming 12 months.

Complimented by online content

Mail Online has continued to grow and is firmly placed as the world’s number one newspaper website. With 2,624,407 unique visitors in Ireland per month, it is also the number one destination for female entertainment engagement. launched at the end of February 2014 aimed at females aged 25-44. This is Ireland’s newest female lifestyle website which already has over 250,000 unique visitors per month.

Associated Newspapers Ireland continues to increase market share, readership and to grow our newspaper web sites throughout the next 12 months.

A sign of The Times

IT_Logo_BLACKFran Walsh, circulation & audience director, The Irish Times, outlines how the newspaper continually works with retailers to drive sales and run promotions at store level

 Latest circulation figures

The latest release of ABC sales figures (January – June 2014) shows there is still a substantial number of newspapers sold in Ireland on a daily and weekly basis. The Irish Times enjoys a 35% market share of the morning quality market (The Irish Times, Irish Examiner and the Irish Independent).

The latest combined print and digital ABC figure for The Irish Times stands at 83,238, – 80,332 plus digital of 2,906.

While not included in the data published by ABC, a further 2,200 people accessed The Irish Times daily on a Kindle device in the first half of this year.

The readership figures recently released by the JNRS show The Irish Times has 301,000 readers of the newspaper. The gender split of the newspaper’s readers is 54% male, 46% female readers and we continue to have one of the highest ABC1 reader profiles at 81%. attracts over 40m page views and over 5m users per month (Source: Google Analytics) which makes it one of the most popular news sites in the country

Developments and innovation

The Irish Times is constantly innovating and we announced some time ago the proposed introduction of a paid digital offering on in the near future. This will clearly put a value on our journalism, irrespective of what platform the consumer engages on.

The Irish Times has continually invested in the newspaper and the most recent example of this is the newly redesigned look to The Ticket which is published each Friday with the newspaper.

We have also increased our marketing spend on promoting the quality journalism which appears daily both in the newspaper and online.

The Irish Times has also invested heavily over many years in POS in an effort to maintain the news category front and centre at retail and we will continue to do so.  Other initiatives which have been very successful with reader engagement has been the launce of ‘The Irish Times Best Shops’, which has seen readers nominate their favourite shop from various categories and has created great excitement across the country. Congratulations to all the category winners.

Plans to maintain and increase circulation

It has become more relevant than ever to make the newspaper as convenient as possible for the consumer to purchase. And the key word here is purchase. Many newspapers including The Irish Times offer discounted newspapers to hotels, cafés etc, and although this helps drive circulation it must be conducted in a controlled manner and not take away from the core business model of selling newspapers.

In the same vein it is vital that retailers continue to actively develop the news category with promotions and prominent in-store displays to ensure ‘news’ is front and central to consumers at all times. To support this we continually work with retail in running promotions at store level. These vary from ‘link-save’ offers to loyalty schemes, etc… many of which can lead to double figure percentage sales increases.

Benefits of trade terms 

The Irish Times offers one of the highest cash margins of any daily newspaper to retailers. If the newspaper is sold at the RRP, in 2014 retailers will share in a cash margin of almost €9m from The Irish Times. Therefore it is to the retailer’s benefit to display The Irish Times prominently seven days a week.

Promotional plans

Over the past 12 months, The Irish Times has run a series of promotions in both independent and multiple stores. Retailers who have participated in the various promotions have seen sales increase during the promotional period and in many cases retailers have maintained some of this uplift in sales.

We also have a new initiative with members of one of the trade associations to encourage sales of the newspaper to schools. The newspaper has also teamed up with Britvic and Nestlé in recent months and has developed new tri-branded POS along with offering cross promotion of all products.

Complimented by online

There is no doubt that online digital content is fast becoming the platform for news consumption. However we have seen many incidents where print and online content can work in tandem. I referred to The Best Shops initiative earlier, and this is a great example of where the nominations along with visual content appeared online while the newspaper was the driver for the shorts lists and announcing the winners.

It is also important to say that ‘news’ consumption online can drive the next day’s agenda in paper and vice versa when a story is broken in paper the story will often develop throughout the day online. 

Key challenges facing newspapers

The newspaper industry, across the globe, is in the most turbulent time it has ever experienced, as we face the many challenges from new technology that are seeing readers migrate to the vast range of digital ‘news’ platforms as well as changes in consumer behaviour as they engage more and more with these new platforms. News publishers need to adapt to these changes and find the right formula to deliver news across a multitude of platforms in a constant and fast changing environment, but above all, publishers must find new ways to monetise news in this new digital world.

To address the many issues facing our newspaper, The Irish Times is developing a broadly based, multimedia publishing and services organisation that is capable of protecting and sustaining the newspaper and its independence in this new world. It is important to remember that it is content that sells newspapers and with the massive amount of information at consumer’s fingertips the content must be relevant, timely and engaging if consumers are to pay irrespective of the channel.

Independent intelligence

irish_independentJulian Drury-Byrne, deputy marketing director, Independent Newspapers (Ireland) explains how the Irish Independent, Sunday Independent and The Herald all continue to attract a strong readership

S_IndoLatest circulation figures

The Irish Independent and Sunday Independent continue to be the best-selling titles in the daily and Sunday market.

The Irish Independent sold an average of 112,383 copies per day.

The Sunday Independent sold an average of 220,565 copies every Sunday

The Herald had sold an average of 51,600 copies.

(Source: ABC Jan-June 2014)

Developments and innovation

THE HERALD MASTHEADWe have had a number exciting developments and innovations with our titles this year.

Firstly, the launch of Insider magazine on a Thursday with the Irish Independent. Insider is a 40 page gloss magazine targeted at younger readers with the inside view on all the latest news.

More recently, the Irish Independent has become the official media partner to Leinster rugby and Connacht rugby in addition to the agreement we signed last year with Munster rugby. Accordingly, every Friday with the Irish Independent during the rugby season, readers in their respective provinces get a dedicated eight page supplement with exclusive content on player diaries, coaches’ notes and a weekly update on the provincial club scene.

The Sunday Independent has enhanced its business offering. With its expert analysis and expanded coverage, it now offers the most comprehensive business offering on Sundays.

Sport 72 is a comprehensive preview of all the weekend’s sport has been launched in The Herald on Fridays.

Readership profile

Irish Independent:

The Irish Independent is the number one daily read newspaper with 691,000 readers. A truly national newspaper, the Irish Independent offers a strong reach across each region with 399,000 readers in Leinster, 152,000 in Munster and 139,000 in Connacht/Ulster.

The Herald:

The Herald had 262,000 readers and is Dublin’s favourite newspaper. It has 201,000 readers in the capital alone and is number one for Dublin women with 110,000 readers, Dublin main shoppers with 135,000 readers and Dublin under 35s with 67,000 readers. 

Sunday Independent:

The Sunday Independent has increased its readership by 54,000 readers to 992,000 readers making it the most widely read Irish newspaper. Life magazine and Living are Ireland’s best read magazines with readerships of 643,000 and 658,000 respectively.

(Source: JNRS 2013/2014)

Publication strengths

Consistency of content is critical in achieving circulation rates. All our titles offer a brand of quality and trusted journalism that readers value. In addition, we are constantly evaluating out titles to ensure they are moving and evolving as our readers’ needs move and evolve.

Promotional plans

Our promotion programme runs over a 52 week period and is created so as to reward and delight existing readers in addition to enticing new readers.

Trade terms

This is an area where I feel there is an opportunity for retailers. 

Our titles deliver more profit for retailers than any other titles through a combination of higher rates of sale and higher cash margins. Yet when you look at how the vast majority of retailer layout their news section, this is not factored in.

We understand that retailers need to offer choice within their news category. We recommend however, that the layout of this news section should give priority to the best-selling titles and the titles that earn them most money.

Complimented by online content

We see this as a mutually beneficial arrangement. Online can help drive readers to the printed product, through promotional or content-led initiatives on site. Likewise, the printed product can be used to direct readers online for additional analysis, comment or video.

Key challenges facing newspapers

The aligning of a print and digital offering that is sustainable is a key challenge. By investing in content-led initiatives, we see a healthy future for both.

The farmer wants a…good newspaper!

ifjLogoDavid Leydon, commercial director, of the Irish Farmers Journal – which also publishes The Irish Field, Irish Country Magazine and Irish Country Living – explains how an investment in its editorial team, both in agri and consumer content, has paid off for the group

Latest circulation figures

The Irish Farmers Journal and the magazine supplement Irish Country Living has a current ABC audited sale of 70,235, with 100% actively purchased. This represents significant growth since 2006 when the circulation of the title was 65,866 (ABC). Readership is now 285,000, a 22% increase on the same period last year (Source: JNRS).

countrylivingInnovation and developments

Some key developments within the group include the launch of Irish Country Magazine two years ago. This title grew from the supplement Irish Country Living and has an ABC circulation of 15,888 (ABC 2013). This has continued to increase during 2014. Advertising in this bi-monthly title is also growing.

IrishFieldmastURLThe other key development for the group was the launch of a metered paid content model for in December 2013. This is the first metered model launched by an Irish title and reflects some of the key thinking around how news brands will generate revenue in the future – the mixed model of online reader revenue and advertising revenue will be vital. This is showing a positive revenue contribution. We’ve invested significantly in developing the user experience which brings people through the paid content funnel from free news to registering for paid content to becoming paying subscribers.

Publication strengths

PrintThe key to success, whether digitally or in print, remains giving our readers content which helps them make decisions. To use a cliché, content remains king in a tech era. We’ve invested heavily in our editorial team both in agri and consumer content. Our agri team are thought leaders in their sector and will generally be giving leadership at industry conferences rather than taking notes and reporting. The editorial team bring strong academic credentials (some with PhDs in dairy science for example) as well as strong practical on-farm know-how. This ensures that they can give our readers advice and content which helps them make better decisions.

Our readership is mainly based in rural Ireland as would be expected but is very much a family paper with Irish Country Living bringing in over 100,000 female readers to the title.

Digital & Collect initiative

One key initiative we’ve launched is Digital & Collect for the reader who wants both a print copy of the Irish Farmers Journal and total access to The reader can sign up online, access all content and then bring a voucher which is sent by email, to his/her retailer each Thursday to collect a print copy. For the retailer they simply have to enter the voucher code into an online system which we developed and will get credited via Newspread. This is one way we’d like to maintain the print sales of the Farmers Journal – give the whole family access to both print and digital so that it meets their various needs in different ways. This is an initiative we’d like to see the whole industry collaborating on. We don’t compete on who prints the product or how it’s delivered so should we not be collaborating on building a print and digital solution which works for all titles and retailers?

Key challenges facing newspapers

Finally, the key challenge facing the industry is the changing nature of consumer behaviour especially the rise of mobile consumption of content. Monetising this mobile content will be one of the defining issues for all of us in the content business.

Sunny side up

new logoJarlath Dolly, business development manager, News UK & Ireland outlines how the titles in his company’s portfolio – The Irish Sun, The Irish Sun Sunday and The Sunday Times – are currently performing

Latest circulation figures

In the period Jan-Jun 2014 The Irish Sun (60,711 copies) continues to lead the mid/popular market on sales in the Republic, The Irish Sun Sunday (55,417 copies) was the best performing Sunday title compared with the previous year and The Sunday Times (91,841 copies) continued to be the quality newspaper of choice.

Offering consumers value

The Irish Sun is the number one selling tabloid in Ireland. Over the past year it has become the number one most read daily tabloid as well as the second most read daily newspaper in Ireland (JNRS). The Irish Sun has a strong youth readership and leads the market on sport, entertainment and value. It is the best value title in the market at just EUR*1 seven days a week.  Irish Sun readers have a huge appetite for giveaways and promotions and readers can benefit from a range of successful value offers in the paper including SuperEuro – a promotion that offers a whole month of EUR*1 deals from some of Ireland’s leading brands. It is also a strong footfall driver for retailers.

Publication strengths

The Sunday Times is the leading quality Sunday broadsheet, encompassing nine wide-ranging sections including a portfolio of three magazines, delivering unrivalled coverage of both Irish and international news. The Sunday Times continues to set the news agenda for the week ahead and performs particularly strongly amongst the business community and with opinion leaders. Recent high profile exclusives include the World Cup bribery revelations and the Garda Ombudsman bugging scandal. The Sunday Times has a higher proportion of ABC1 readers than any other title in the market and has an affluent, engaged audience. The Sunday Times delivers added value to readers across the year with a range of special supplements and free guides including travel guides, European Rugby Champions Cup guide, property guides and recipe booklets.

Complimented by online

The Sunday Times loyalty programme – The Sunday Club – continues to grow and rewards loyal readers with free cinema screenings, ticket giveaways, restaurant deals and more. The Sunday Club currently boasts over 48,000 members.

The Sunday Times is also available on tablet bringing its world class journalism to new audiences on new platforms.

The Irish Sun mobile app launched in June of this year and expands the paper’s already comprehensive sports coverage by exclusively offering GAA highlights and Scottish Premier League near live clips and highlights.

Benefits to retailer

All of our products are sold through the trade at full cover price, we do not engage in bulking or lesser rate sales. The Irish Sun offers the highest retail margin of any national newspaper (27.5%).










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