City Council reject advertising with DI

If Northern Ireland’s largest regional newspaper, the Belfast Telegraph is experiencing troubles, then so is Ireland’s smallest and punchiest title, Daily Ireland. Belfast City Council has just rejected a bid to have DI included in its advertising list of approved national daily papers. The sticking point appears to be lack of a rating from the NI Target Group Index – a portfolio of surveys which provides information on audiences and their attitudes towards consumer goods and services. The decision comes in the wake of a draft report as part of a review of public expenditure on government advertising spends, which notes:

The custom and practice around public notice advertising owes much to a period when newspapers were the principal form of communication. Greater use needs to be made of the opportunities presented by the Internet and other new methods need to be assessed.

In regards to the print media it identifies several key factors currently in play:

• An increased number of titles;

• Falling readership and circulation;

• Media cost inflation;

• Cost differential – government should not pay an increased price for classified versus the ’run of paper’;

• Value – some titles are charging government a premium;

• Weekly press – limited research information is available for weekly titles;

• Audited circulation – there is a lack of audited figures for some titles.

To this it is careful to note that verification of circulation is essential in a market with an increased number of players and a reduced number of readers:

AVB – the press market in Northern Ireland has changed significantly. Changes include the launch of Daily Ireland and the Belfast Telegraph morning edition. There has also be a significant change in ownership with Johnston Press purchasing both Morton’s and Local Press Limited. The comments in respect of press are valid. Fundamentally, the government should not pay a premium to advertise in the local press. The sheer number of local paid-for titles is a sad reflection of our divided community.

We would be very supportive of any initiatives to make weekly press more accountable. Like government, we feel that an independently audited circulation should be a minimum requirement and have been lobbing all weekly press titles to adopt ABC. By insisting on an independently audited circulation government will increase accountability in this sector. We would also welcome
a weekly press readership survey covering all titles – government may need to consider funding such a survey to ensure that this is robust and covers all paid for weekly titles.

It goes on to argue that all newspapers should have their circulation figures audited before government should spend money with them, suggesting there could be exceptions for some magazines with circulations of less than 5,000 for the purposes of hitting minority groups.

However, in the case of Daily Ireland, any future index rating may not address one major underlying problem: ie the total figure of papers sold island wide is so small it could be difficult to identify a clear and targetable demographic. It sells less nationally than its locally popular stablemate the Andersonstown News.

We predict this is a battle the paper will have to perserve with for some time, in hopes that it can reverse early trends begin to eat into the substantial lead of all its rivals.

  • Shore Road Resident

    Christ, not another Daily Ireland thread.
    Why not start one on the Tyrone Herald – it sells more copies, even to Shinners.

  • wag

    It sells less nationally than its locally popular stablemate the Andersonstown News.

    The Irish News has reported that sales of the Andersonstown News are down almost 15% from last year.

    In the same article, the Irish News also reports:
    “Finally, some ABC figures elsewhere have been distorted by the inclusion of copies which are either sold at a heavily discounted rate or simply given away. The Irish News total reflects a 99.9 per cent full price sale, which we believe makes a strong statement.”

    Looking at the ABC data, the Irish News (Mon-Fri editions), is selling 48,540 copies at full price, with only 14 copies discounted or given away (total sales = 48,554).

    Daily Ireland (Mon-Fri editions), in the same period (Jul 05-Jan O6), is selling 8,768 at full price and counts 1,278 copies as bulk sales below cover price, bringing their total sales to 10,046.

    Belfast City Council would be better off advertising in the Andersonstown News, whose combined titles (Andersonstown News, North Belfast News, South Belfast News) sell 4,000 more than DI and would therefore appear to reach more residents of Belfast.

  • Shore Road Resident

    I’m not surprised the Andersonstown News sales are down – the ATN Group is effectively competing with itself, and itself only, but printing two papers aimed at exactly the same market.
    Also, can anyone explain why these latest DI sales figures are exactly the same as the last ones? I think there is a get-out clause in the ABC rules about reporting a new title’s first full year sales i.e. they can take an average if the trend is down.


    Slightly off topic, but since Sluggers commenting facilities were down at the time, and I couldn’t say anything then, I will say it now.

    The recent Daily Ireland interview with Lord Alderdice was a brilliant slice of in yer face investigative journalism.
    They stitched him up good and proper, asking difficult questions and forcing him into a rather embarrassing public resignation from the Alliance party.

    I don’t usually have much time for the DI, but credit where credit is due, that was some clever work on their part.

  • fran

    Interesting article today on love ulster’s Jim Dixon.His thoughts on the apartheid regime and immigration etc..

    “It’s wrong that blacks are coming to Northern Ireland,”

    “I couldn’t care less if people call me a racist. I couldn’t care less what they think. Apartheid meant the black man was better treated and respected.
    “Immigration is a recipe for trouble. It shouldn’t happen anywhere. Each to their own. Other races should have their own schools, hospitals and buses.”

    Again off topic but very interesting.

  • Maybe a member of the council advertised before on D.I.and couldn’t sell his car as there was too many cars already advertised in D.I. so he’s gone and used Auto Trader instead;-)

  • urquhart

    Mick, you said: “Ireland’s smallest and punchiest title, Daily Ireland.”

    Smallest certainly, but ‘punchiest’? Come on…

  • urquhart

    One more thing – did anyone notice the conflicting reports in the News Letter and the Irish News this morning? Irish News ran a piece saying that it was of only a few regional papers in the UK to see a rise in circulation in the last 6 months.

    The News Letter also ran a piece thanking its readers for giving it a rise in circulation – although it also singled out the Birmingham Post as another big winner, when the IN identified the Post as one of the biggest losers in the last 6 months.

    Could they be using different indicators or something?

    [posted by urquhart]

  • lah dee dah

    I’d like the DI to go the whole hog and publish in Irish only.

  • fair_deal


    Sorry to pester but any timetable on when you can get me the info I need to start blogging?


    “Belfast City Council would be better off advertising in the Andersonstown News”

    It does.

    lah dee dah

    “publish in Irish only.”

    The ATN group already publishes La, a newspaper in the medium of Irish.

    from fair deal

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Did anyone see the front cover of DI on Saturday – the mock up of Willie ‘I’ll be back’ Frazer, with half his head Photoshopped up as the Terminator?

    It might still be here:

    Worth a look, as it will either get your goat up to high doh or leave you giggling like a girl. If I was Willie, I’d frame it.

  • fair_deal

    Belfast Gonzo

    Very interesting Gonzo. Looks like the republican demonisation is in full swing before a second event is even confirmed.

    The People (not a paper of great note I know) also claims the Garda have found Internet discussions about organising violence against such an event.

  • BogExile

    ‘…I’d like the DI to go the whole hog and publish in Irish only.’

    That would at least save me the arse of trying to understand its unfailingly nasty, narrow, sectarian mangled english prose.


  • Punchiest?!!!!!


    Event the most un educated eijit would not regard the DI as honest journalism.

    The propaganda and political bias isnt just there:- its blatant and incredibly extreme!! An Phoblacht and Combat could learn from it!

    On a side issue i predict it wont be here in 6 months anyway. One thing we have in common both north and south, prod and taig, is that culturally we are all pretty anglicised. We prefer the tripe thats in the Sun, the Star, THe Mirror, or for the more discerning reader the daily sport (perhaps the most honest of the bunch- DI included)


    I thought the front page image of Frazer as the Terminator was an odd choice.
    Being portrayed as the Terminator isn’t exactly an insult, if anything it was a compliment.

    If it were up to me I’d have mocked him up as Oor Wullie, sitting on his pail speaking Ulster Scots saying Jings, criven, help ma boab

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    Daily Ireland may be small – but growing – but at least it isn’t small minded like some of the commenters here.
    How many times have we heard echoes of Quincey’s ‘it won’t be here in six months anyhow’ – it’s a year on the ground now and it’s here to stay. Sooner or later the likes of Belfast City Council will be beaten – just like the Andytown News humiliated them before – and that battle will be won.
    It’s great that the newspaper upsets the small minded petty bourgeoisie – Shore Road Resident, urquhart, wag and the above mentioned Quincey – that means it’s doing its job. Afflicting the comfortable.
    It’s already seen McDowell scuttle off behind the Pinochet defence and the very fact that it’s still coming out and being sold throughout Ireland is testament to its staying power.
    On top of that it hasn’t had to resort to the low tricks of the Independent Group and their plans for the Belfast Telegraph – where will Tony get his freelancers from? Latvia? Nigeria?
    No offence to Latvians or Nigerians intended but it seems that this is another Irish Ferries story in the making. Will watch with interest.

  • Shore Road Resident

    The only people who appear to be ‘afflicted’ by Daily Ireland are the folks at the Andersonstown News – circulation down 15% since DI was launched.
    Competing with yourselves – great strategy guys. No wonder you need the Brits to bail you out.