Regional Newspapers urges freesheet ban

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Stocking freesheets in-store is hurting sales of regional newspaper titles, according to The Regional Newspapers and Printers Association of Ireland



26 January 2010

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Regional Newspapers says the presence of freesheets in shops is substantially eroding the millions of euro of profit created by regional newspaper titles.

The Regional Newspapers and Printers Association of Ireland held a press conference last December to strongly urge retailers to cease stocking freesheets in their stores, as doing so is leading to a steep drop in sales of regional newspaper titles. According to figures released by the association, regional papers contribute an annual profit of €7.2 million.

Speaking at the press conference, director of Regional Newspapers Johnny O’Hanlon said that areas where freesheets are being dropped have experienced circulation decreases in regional papers of between 11 and 12%, as compared with a decline of only around 4% in areas where there are no freesheets.

O’Hanlon said “it makes no sense” to hinder “quality and trusted newspapers” which attract 10 to 15% margin on a typical sale, as well as additional sales, by allowing dumps of freesheets which have not been proven to generate transactions at the till.

Attending the press conference, chief executive of the CSNA, Vincent Jennings said that if retailers do not support the regional titles now, “we will bemoan their loss later.” He also pointed to the fact that many stores around Ireland sell more regional papers than the top-two national titles. Regional papers have up to 78% readership outside Dublin, according to O’Hanlon.

Retailer and CSNA president Joe Mannion said however that regional newspapers also have to deliver more promotions and increased customer service in order to drive sales, adding that he believes the figures given for footfall generation are not “anywhere near” what is claimed. “The figures need to be put to them, retailers look at the bottom line,” he said.



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