Less is more?

The Daily Ireland has announced its latest success.

It is cutting back its production to 5 days a week instead of 6. Despite its sales figures being static (if not down if you look at the use of bulk sales to keep the figures up) Mairtin O’Muilleoir is delighted and continues to demand public subsidy.

Does Daily Ireland’s failure to break the mould of local newspaper readership indicate a deeper problem for the republican project?

  • slug

    Interesting that O’Muilleoir says that he is inspired by the success of the USA today, which goes 5 days a week not 6, so he hopes this will be a good strategy.

    This is innovative. But the problem with this is that if people who usually buy the Daily Ireland on 6 days get into the habit of buying another paper on Saurday then that might make them more familiar with that paper which then attracts them on the Mon-Fri sales. Traditionally its thought important to offer the full 6 days to keep your readers loyal, since habit and familiarity are important parts of newspaper buying.

    So it will be very interesting to see how well O’Muilleoir can pull off this strategy.

  • Lurker

    We could all learn a lot about spinning from Mairtin, who presents a retraction and a cut as an innovation.

  • Jacko 92

    “This is innovative”

    Cutting back on production from 6 days to 5 and laying off staff (which isn’t reported here but is elsewhere) is innovative?

    It is, if innovative is another word for slow demise.

  • If their interpretation of this is a success and innovation (creative and imaginative, anyone?), what does that bode for their analysis of the political scene, and is it any wonder then not enough people are buying the paper?

  • slug

    Does the title “Daily” become problematic?

  • Shore Road Resident

    The ‘USA Today’ comparison is absolutely hilarious. O’Muilleoir has just frantically scrabbled around for the only example he could find of a major five-day weekly – but USA Today is an extremely weird product in an extremely weird market, which it basically defines and occupies all by itself i.e. a nationwide US daily sub-broadsheet.

    Openess at this point would have served O’Muilleoir and his staff and investors better.

  • Baluba

    I’ll continue to read and enjoy the paper along with many others. Especially the Monday sport.

  • GavBelfast

    Where would it be without the publicity its critics give to it?

    Gone already?

  • Busty Brenda

    It’s not a paper I like. There’s nothing in it of interest, and the headlines are usually hyperbole. Can’t see it lasting much longer if they are cutting back. In my opinion it won’t be missed.

  • TL

    USA Today prints five days because it sees itself as publishing for business people on the move, during the week…that is the whole format. It is meant to be read on the plane, subway etc…
    This is just a silly move to cover up what is clearly a downsize to save money.

  • TL

    I would like to say how sorry I am for using the offensive term “re******” in my characterization. I stand by that sentence though as I believe that the comparison between the Daily Ireland and USA Today is a false analogy, as if drawn by someone with less than average intelligence.

  • slug

    On the plus side it might push DI’s average readership up since Saturday seems to be one of its weaker sales days.

    On the minus side it will mean that DI readers will have to buy a different paper on Saturday. That’s bad for sales because the readers then become familiar with the rival paper, and may shift their Mon-Fri allegiance.

    Will be interesting to see next time’s ABC figures.

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    You may have noticed this thread has been severely downsized. I’ve removed some Martin Ingram’s posting, in hopes he will repost a link to a piece he proffered to DI but which has so far gone unpublished on his own blogsite.

    The rest constituted personal remarks rather than serious content on the subject in hand. I realise that the paper under discussion raises strong feelings. But it is important that the subject should be discussed in tangible and verifiable terms, not simply using playground slagging techniques.

    Without fail it seems, neither Daily Ireland, (nor the, if anything, more sinned against Independent Newspapers) can escape mention on Slugger without someone have a free go at them without advancing any foundation.

    I have no remit to defend either from legitmate criticism. But I’m quite prepared to start throwing people out of the commenting zone if there is not a marked improvement in how people conduct themselves in this matter.

    If you are in any doubt about the core issue, then you should track back and check out the discussion at: Don’t listen to him, he’s a bollix.


  • TL

    Fair enough.

    As for the Daily Ireland, I hope that it doesn’t go away completely, as I firmly believe “the more newspapers the better.” Even if people see it as propaganda it represents someone’s view point and the more view points the better.

  • BogExile

    So is it legitimate or not to infer from falling sales that operating a syntactically mangled and unintentionally hilarious propaganda comic does not make economic sense?

    I ask in all innocence 🙂

  • TL

    Seriously though, you have to ask yourself who your readers are and how many of them are out there to know if you’ll generate a reasonable circulation…one that will attract advertisers and pay the bills. Maybe the DI has over estimated its potential readership.

  • southbelfastnewsman

    Funny enough i now get the South Belfast News, which comes from the same stable, free to my door each week (there goes at least one weekly purchase). In this weeks edition there is a much trumpeted story about the increase in delivery – 5,000 more copies are to be ‘distributed’ each week around south Belfast.

    the story appears to have been written in a deliberately ambigous way, at no stage does it explicity say that the new copies are bing given away rather than sold and the article continually refers to the ‘paid for weekly.’ I cant help feeling somehting is amiss here.

    On another point – Maria McCourt is now back editing the SBN, having initally edited DI – when did this happen? surely a change in editor of a major daily paper should be reasonably big news?

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    “continues to demand public subsidy”

    I return briefly to point out that Fair Deal is far from fair in his characterization of what Daily Ireland is seeking. It’s not a public subsidy but public advertising – and the revenue associated with it – which the newspaper is seeking, placing it on a level playing pitch with other newspapers in the north.
    Last year up to £20m was spent on such advertising in the North – the vast bulk of which went to the Irish News, the Tele and the Newsletter and the Irish Times. One wonders whether these newpapers regard the revenue from public advertising as a subsidy or a revenue stream.
    Still in all when a new kid on the block demands fair play, especially when it finds out that these funds were disbursed with going to tender or conducting economic appraisals etc, then there is a bit of discomfiture no doubt. And then their supporters come out of the woodwork to attack the threat to that coveted revenue.
    As far as I know, Daily Ireland is here to stay and it’s begrudgers can go away and boil their heads.

  • TL

    Oilbhar I agree they should get public advertising…especially if it is going to the likes of the Newsletter.

  • Shore Road Resident

    …and it will, if it ever sells enough copies to justify the use of public money. Which it doesn’t. And that’s that.
    Why should the taxpayer subsidise every new newspaper?

  • TL

    How does the gov. verify circulation? What is the standard for circulation? How close are they?

  • ingrammartin


    You asked me and I agreed that you should remove the letter and post the link to my Blog site. The remainder remains true. The points in brief:

    1. Daily Ireland is funded by the British Govt, no different than Sinn Fein but ploughing the same line.

    2. It does not publish balanced arguments but a one dimensional viewpoint.

    3. It is a dead duck in the water and is struggling to convince the potential customers of this paper that it has a clear vision of the substance at issue.That is why it is NOT SELLING, it is not viewed as a serious Newspaper as the Irish News is.


    PS. Letter can be found in full on Martiningram.blogspot.com

  • TL

    But Martin if the gov. is involved why aren’t they giving it the public advertising to prop up their own organ?

  • Shore Road Resident

    Newspapers sales are verified by the Independent Monitoring Comm… sorry, by the Audit Bureau of Circulation. They show that DI sells less than most local weeklies, and that’s assuming the accuracy of the estimated 7,000 sales down south, where ABC has no auditing system in place.
    Daily Ireland has asked for an exemption to the usual rules because – well, just because, like.
    They almost got one too, until questions were asked in Parliament. Perhaps they should write a letter to the Queen or something?

  • TL

    SRR thank you for that information. I will do some research about that board b/c I’m really intersted in how they go about monitoring the sales.

  • ingrammartin


    But Martin if the gov. is involved why aren’t they giving it the public advertising to prop up their own organ?

    It may not receive Public advertising because it does not fit a certain criteria, the other papers that do receive NO FUNDING covered in”InterTradelreland’s ACUMEN Programme that the DI does as part of an agreement struck under the GFA.The other Newspaers have fought the Govt to be treated in a similar way to Daily Ireland but have thus far been denied that level playing field.


  • TL

    Ok, I see.


    If the DI goes under, expect much wailing about how the it was the nasty Brits that scuppered it, but just don’t hold your breath waiting for an explanation as to how the Brits convinced all those punters not to buy it.

    For my own part, I am slightly surprised that it is (seemingly) doing as badly as it is.
    If the Shinners can convince people they are worth voting for, and they can, then why wont those selfsame voters buy the DI?

  • Shore Road Resident

    [See commenting policy – edited Moderator]

  • TL

    My lord this topic has kept the moderator busy!

  • The prob with DI was it overestimated its market- by being overtly provisional in outlook, it was excluding a large swathe of the market, be they SDLP-types or non-aligned nationalists. I’ve heard SF complain about The Irish News, but I don’t think even they could deny that it takes a more expansive and inclusive angle on nationalism, with both SF and SDLP getting plenty of column inches. This is where the Irish News trumps DI- whatever hue of nationalism you adhere to, it’s better to get both sides (i.e. through the IN) than to get a one-sided version (i.e. through DI).

    If DI wishes to forward a provisional agenda, it needs to be more subtle. At the minute it just comes across as a glorified An Phoblacht. Until its cleans up its journalistic act, people will just keep buying the Irish News to get all sides of the story- why settle for one version if you can get a range of opinions?

  • TL

    I guess I always thought the point of DI was to attempt to be An Phoblacht’s no so secret love child. El Matador you are SO correct about being subtle, it is a huge fault that SF propaganda lacks any subtlety.

  • Yokel

    Newspapers, magazines and other periodicals fail frequently..end of story (Daily View). If it can’t sell enough to encourage more advertisers then hard luck. The fact that it may be a poor product that doesn’t sell enough has nothing to do with government funding or some dark cornered attempt to sink it and everything to do with its management who didn’t plan it correctly. In short, change the management of it if you want commercial success, stop depending on other people..oh sorry thats what people do in Northern Ireland…oh how silly I am to forget…

    It may well be propped up with money from somewhere because maybe it isn’t necessarily designed to be a commercial product, its a political one..maybe that was its first mistake in getting the necessary circulation to survive on its own two feet.

    It should synidicate Hagar the Horrible, I reckon that would help..and do a gaelic football version of The Sun’s Striker & the Mirror’s Scorer cartoon strips.. here’s a plot for ya. The team’s trip to a big final is thwarted by the Brits holding them up at roadblocks claiming tyres on the coach haven’t enough tread on them

  • “and do a gaelic football version of The Sun’s Striker & the Mirror’s Scorer cartoon strips.”

    There’s an idea- it could be called ‘Holylander’, and would be based on culchies living behind Queen’s who wear GAA tracksuits but have never actually played gaelic games. The general idea is that we follow them trying to cop off with their orange-faced female equivalents, whilst pulling wing-mirrors off cars and shouting ‘Tiocfaidh ár lá’ at three in the morning.

    There’s always the risk though that it might be a little close an emulation of real life for many of the readers…

  • Yokel

    I forgot about the love interest..thanks for that. i have to admit that I was looking at it from my point of origin West Belfast but Holylander has fizz about it..well Buckfast…

    Anybody know what happend to Charger lager or Norseman? Ah childhood….

  • The advertising agencies both North and South wont touch this paper because of the poor circulation. They have been trying to recruit an advertising manager in Dublin since late last year and when applying candidates realised what the paper was they walked away not because of polotics but because they realise how difficult the sell would be. Most of the advertising in it at the moment is free or contra deals like hotel giveaways or reader offers which there is very little money.The agencies would prob look for a circulation of around 30,000 before they would start using the paper in any significant way. Thing is Marty knows it all and when this project was first planned all of this should have been taken into account ie no advertising being attracted. I do know that they are very disappointed with the sales themselves, even the so called Sinn Fein faithful are not buying it in any great numbers which they were relying on for the first year or two. The comparision with the American has always been there, DI is designed by an American big shot and the design cannot be faulted. But no ads no money simple as that.

  • Jacko 92

    “For my own part, I am slightly surprised that it is (seemingly) doing as badly as it is.
    If the Shinners can convince people they are worth voting for, and they can, then why wont those selfsame voters buy the DI?”

    There is a world of difference between going into the polling booth every once in a while and voting along the lines of your lowest base sentiments, and buying a daily miss-mash of badly-written, propoganda, paranoia, exaggerations and made-up stories.
    Most shinner voters probably buy the Irish News and one of the British dailies like the Mirror or even the Sun – all of which are beacons of good journalism in comparison to DI.

    Besides, how many DUP voters, for example, would buy tripe like the Protestant Telegraph or that Orange Standard thing?

  • southbelfastnewsman

    The deisgn of DI is good – spme of itc covers even go some way toward aping the (British) Independent.

    but why does the paper not sell? take today’s cover article for instance. It features an ‘in-depth’ interview with….Eamon Dunphy! Who gives a shit what Eammo thinks about Frank Connolly, the ‘great leadership’ of SF or the standard of journalism in Dublin??? its a crazy cover story.

    DI has about 30 pages each day – half of which can be read in the South Belfast News / A’Town News / North Belfast News anyway.

    Its a poor product and thats the A – Z of the whole matter.

  • Shore Road Resident

    Let us take it as a positive sign.
    SF voters clearly aren’t as stupid as SF takes them for. I’ll go to bed on that pleasant thought.

  • Paul

    Mairtin O’Muilleoir is beginning to sound like Spinal Tap’s manager, “we’re playing smaller venues this time round so we can get a more selective audience.”
    I agree with SBNM, I read yesterdays DI (someone had left it in a cafe). An Eamon Dunphy interview is not a news story, Eamon Dunphy saying “no comment” might be. He had nothing to reveal apart from his opinion and we can get that any old day of the week.
    Any other day the lead is a glorified social diary page for “our glorious leader” or a “the cops are bastards” type story. The day after the raid on Slab Murphy’s farm, which generated lead stories and headlines in the nationals north and south and in the UK the DI buried the story in a column inside and lead with a joyriding story if my memory is right. It was the same the day after Robert McCartney’s murder, which was the only story in all other media, they just ignored it. It’s become a parody of itself.

  • urquhart

    One point on an issue raised earlier (by Olibhear Cromwell I think) – i.e. the claim that Daily Ireland is being discriminated against because NI Departments will not advertise with it.

    My understanding is that it is printed using the presses installed for the new daily version of LÁ (is ti still around?). These were, of course, largely paid for using Government grants – financial aid given to none of the other newspapers here.

    Despite this unprecendented subsidy for a printed media outlet, the title has failed to make any real impact in the North. Not even the gang of Ministers we have at the minute could justify continued subsidy. That’s saying something.

    And make no mistake OC, or anyone else, if the Gov starts placing ads in daily Ireland on the basis of it’s current circulation, that will amount to a subsidy.