ABCs: Digital Sales Increase as Print Continues to Decline

    It was a case of mixed fortunes for many of Ireland’s leading newspapers and magazines in the latest Ireland of Ireland ABC report which was published this week.

    Although the report covers Irish titles, when combined with the figures published by UK titles with Irish editions, the general trend shows that daily print sales declined by 8.4% year on year while sales of Sunday titles were also down by around 8.4%.

    While daily and Sunday print sales were down across the board for many titles, the current batch of figures showed a substantial increase in digital sales for some titles.

    The largest selling daily in the Irish market, the Irish Independent, saw its circulation figures dip to 97,104, a 5.3% decline. While the publication’s website does not operate a paywall, sales of its digital edition rose by 21.2% to 1,941.

    It’s stablemate, the Sunday Independent, remains the country’s biggest selling newspaper with a circulation of 191,594, a drop of 3.8% while sales of its digital edition rose by 12.9% to 1,902.

    In the popular Sunday market, the Sunday World also continues to be the highest selling newspaper with sales of 149,481 per week, equalling 44.7% of all papers sold in the popular market each Sunday.

    According to Karen Preston, group advertising director, INM: “These ABC results show the strong position that INM titles offer our advertisers. With 1.1 million sales every week across our titles, we are able to connect brands to their key demographics and target audiences on an unparalleled basis through our audience-centric products.

    “Our recent INM/Amarach Newspaper Buyers Survey shows that readers spend 70 minutes reading the Irish Independent and 101 minutes reading the Sunday Independent against an industry average of 66 minutes, demonstrating how highly engaged our readers are with their newspaper,” she says.

    In the case of the Irish Times, average daily sales of its print title dropped by 8%  to 66,251 while subscriptions to its ePaper rose by 33.4% to 13,176. When digital only access is included (this is not measured by ABC), an average of 91,166 customers pay for the Irish Times in print, ePaper and digital on a daily basis.

    According to Liam Kavanagh, managing director of The Irish Times: “We are delighted that our overall paying customer base has grown substantially since launching the digital subscription service just under two years ago. While there’s some shift from print to digital sales, our overall ABC figure has been maintained. We have added new customers almost every day since launch.

    “The introduction of the paid digital service and the continued development of the Home Delivery services has enabled The Irish Times to build a strong direct relationship with readers. This includes a developing international readership in “The Irish Abroad” network which now has over 20,000 registered members,” he says

    Elsewhere sales of the Irish Examiner were down 7.8% year on year to 30,090 while the Evening Echo was down by 11% to 10,270.

    The ABC figures for the Irish Daily Star showed that it had a circulation of €45,396, a 9.6% decline. Likewise the Irish Daily Mirror was down 11.25% to 35,767.

    There was some consolation for the Irish Sun which recorded a modest 0.1% increase in average daily sales to end the year on 58,531.

    In the Sunday market, other titles that recorded declines include the Sunday Business Post, which was down by 6% to 30,244 while sales of the Sunday Times were down by a much more modest 1.7% to 78,658.

    In the popular Sunday market, the Sunday World also continues to be the highest selling newspaper with sales of 149,481 per week, equalling 44.7% of all papers sold in the popular market each Sunday.

    Elsewhere the Irish Mail on Sunday was down 7.6% in the Republic while Sunday Mirror was down 15.7% to 24,314.