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Newspaper Readership Steady at 86% of Population

The latest set of figures from the Joint National Readership Survey (JNRS) showed that 86% of the population continue to regularly read a newspaper either on a daily or a weekly basis.

This effectively means that 3.52m people regularly read a newspaper either on a daily or weekly basis, a decline of 10,000 on the previous year. The JNRS, which is carried out by Millward Brown Lansdowne covers the 12 month period up until the end of June 2010.

While many daily and Sunday papers reported declines in readership figures there were some notable exceptions.

In the daily category, the Irish Independent saw its readership base increase by 5,000 to 560,000 readers while the Irish Times lost 5,000 readers to end up with 359,000 at the end of June 2010

Elsewhere, the Irish Examiner shed 6,000 readers to end up with 204,00 while the Irish Daily Star lost 52,000 readers to close at 410,000. The Irish Sun, meanwhile, was down by 26,000 to 285,000 while the Irish Daily Mail shed just 2,000 to end the period with 144,000 readers. For its part, the Irish Daily Mirror maintained its readership at 204,000. The Irish Daily Mail, meanwhile, lost 2,000 readers on a year-on-year basis to average out at 144,000 although when compared to the last batch of JNRS figures for the whole of 2009, it was actually up by 1%.

In the cut-throat Sunday market, the Sunday Independent lost 11,000 readers although still remains the most widely read paper on Sunday with 992,000 readers. It was followed by the Sunday World, on 843,000, a drop of 40,000 readers while the Sunday Tribune lost 5,000 readers to end the period on 167,000. The Irish Mail on Sunday, meanwhile, also reported a strong set of figures, adding 37,000 readers to average out at 332,000 readers.

But it was good news for the Sunday Times, which continues its recent good run by adding 51,000 readers to achieve 422,000 while the Sunday Business Post also added 31,000 to record an average readership of 193,000. The latest JNRS figures will also be toasted by the  Irish Farmers Journal which added another 19,000 readers to achieve a respectable  259,000 readers every week.

"The slight fall in overall readership can be attributed, in the main part, to a reduction in people at work," says Frank Cullen of National Newspapers of Ireland (NNI). "Newspapers are traditionally passed around the workplace from colleague to colleague, so with fewer people in employment there are simply fewer opportunities to share newspapers.

"Ireland has also experienced a decline in population over the past two years, especially in the 19 to 24 age group, so the total number of adults available to read newspapers is shrinking,"  Cullen added.

"Despite that, Ireland's overall exposure to newspapers remains consistently high," Cullen adds. "With 86% of the population regularly reading a newspaper we are among the most avid readers in Europe, if not the world."

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