Irish News tops out in a squeezed market…

Irish News is the only regional newspaper in the UK to have added readers in the last twelve months. The paper’s stable ownership and investment in quality content is possibly one reason for its bouyancy is what is otherwise a highly competitive market. In the Republic the biggest winner was the Sunday Business Post with a massive 7.8% rise in circulation.One interesting sub-story to the ABC figures is the performance of Daily Ireland viz a viz its rivalry with the Irish News. This time last year their figure sat at 10,467, this year it is 10,080. Belfast’s ‘newspaper war’ would seem to be over, all bar the shouting.

Finfacts has news that the Newspaper Society has plans “to develop a “multimedia portfolio audience currency” and is working alongside JICREG and ABC Electronic to build an expanded database of regional press print and online platforms”. Convergence not too far ahead then?

  • not peteb

    [pedant on]

    2005 figures

    Daily Ireland
    Total Average Net Circulation Per Issue: 10,008
    Actively Purchased: 8,762

    Comparison (Mon-Fri figures):
    Daily Ireland:
    8,762 actively purchased
    Irish News:
    48,401 actively purchased

    2006 figures

    Daily Ireland
    Total Average Net Circulation Per Issue: 10,080
    Actively Purchased: 8,736

    Comparison (Mon-Fri figures):
    Daily Ireland 8,736 Actively Purchased
    Irish News 49,261 Actively Purchased

    [/pedant off]

  • Mick Fealty

    I picked that figure up from the same report last year, but I’m willing to be proved wrong.

  • Mick Fealty

    Try this: That’s what I was refering to since it’s from the same report date. Slap me if I wrong.

  • press packer

    Serious question: how much longer can DI be viable? With those figures and clearly no sign of an upturn, it must be haemorraging money at a scary rate, one would have thought…

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    Belfast’s ‘newspaper war’ would seem to be over, all bar the shouting.

    That’s what some would like to think but the fact that DI is still here, still holding its own, is proof that the Irish News, which only regained some of its previously lost circulation, is not out of the woods. In the final analysis, Daily Ireland is a newspaper which has a broader appeal and as long as it can maintain through the difficult times, engendered by the attempts to deny it its fair share of advertising revenue from government sources etc, it will be a significant player in the Irish media market, as opposed to the stagnant ‘Provincial’ media in which the Irish News is paddling about.

  • Garibaldy


    On what basis are you saying the DI has a broader appeal? The figures don’t suggest it. Quite the opposite.

  • John Maynard

    In related news, recently-launched blogonaut Marty Millar appears to have fallen off his balcony.

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    If the Daily Ireland V Irish News ‘war’ has been won, how come so many Irish News fans come on here to drive the nail into the DI ‘coffin’ as it were. It suggest a deep sense of insecurity. The fact is that Daily Ireland has a broader appeal than the Irish News because it is the only All Ireland paper and the IN, for one,is a Provincial organ, no more. It’s a matter of stamina for DI, but it will outlast the Irish News and eventually outsell it. This is as inevitable as Sinn Fein being in government on both sides of the border, the first all Ireland Government since 1800.

  • Peking

    The ‘newspaper war’ never began for goodness sake. DIs daily sales are about as much a threat to the Irish News as Vance’s blog.

  • Garibaldy


    I don’t read the Irish News. I don’t like horseracing nor am I nationalist, so why would I read it? Although I like seeing Newtown Emerson and Patrick Murhpy when I get the chance. And occasionally James Kelly too.

    Surely the Irish Times counts as an all-Ireland paper? On DI’s broader appeal, DI may aim at an all-Ireland audience, but not very successfully. I don’t think moving to 5 days a week was a sign of strength.

    As for the all-Ireland government, I’d say that’s inaccurate as a decription of how government worked under the union, and of what PSF being in power on both sides of the border will mean.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Oilibhear said:

    The fact is that Daily Ireland has a broader appeal than the Irish News because it is the only All Ireland paper and the IN, for one,is a Provincial organ, no more.

    In newspapers terms, ‘broader appeal’ has never, ever meant ‘wider geographical distribution’.

    Good luck to DI (seriously) and its attempts to squeeze cash out of the Government for ads, but I wouldn’t kid myself that it’s appeal is ever going to be wider – in terms of audience – than the Irish News.

  • southbelfastnewsman

    when a daily paper has no photographer to its name – no photographer! – and reduces to five days a week, things ain’t looking so good. no matter how you try and dress it up OC.

    i would be quite happy for DI to limp along but you know why it will fail and go down to 4 days a week, then 2 a la the Derry Journal? because the journalism is so poor and the writing so awful that it is unsustainable.

    how many journalists work there now, dedicated purely to DI and not the wider group? 2 reporters maybe?

  • southbelastnewsman – Is it sour grapes on your part? Did they not deem you good enough to work for DI? Stick to writing stories about rates, it’s about your level.
    As for DI – its a welcome voice to the media in Northern Ireland, even here in the States.
    In its 18 months in existence it has provided a wealth of stories on Slugger, so it must be doing something right.
    I live in Woodlawn in the north Bronx, NYC. The most popular paper here is the Irish News (you get it a day late) , but DI is slowly catching up. Both papers are provided free in the local bars. Each day I slowly see more and more people reading DI, last week people in Rory Dolan’s bar were fighting over the Joe Brolly edition.
    I’m glad DI is out there. I certainly hope it continues, even though I don’t always agree with its viewpoint. I wonder southbelfastman, are you a member of the NUJ, given your opposition to DI? Surely if you are in the NUJ, you want to see the venture succeed? I do, I hope it and the IN are available in New York for a long time to come.

  • That’s a little unfair. Other newspapers only use freelance photographers too. Nor is all the writing as bad as you make it out. I wish the paper no ill will.

    But at the same time, I do think it’s outlook is far too narrow. Just an opinion FWIW. I just don’t think politics really sells papers any more, and that’s where the focus is in DI… although if the Assembly was restored, I’d think its fortunes would probably improve slightly, as it would be more relevant.

  • Peking

    “In its 18 months in existence it has provided a wealth of stories on Slugger, so it must be doing something right.”

    Only for two reasons.
    1) It is often held up as an exemplar of God-awful journalism.
    2) There are those who for party political reasons plug it at every opportunity.

    I must say, they must have little to fight over in Rory Dolan’s bar.

  • southbelfastnewsman

    paul panther

    NUJ member? sttories about rates? what on earth are you on abiut? and as the SBN and DI come from the same stable you are badly off message. and no Belfast Gonzo, no other ‘daily’ newspaper doesnt have a photographer, and most weeklies in NI have one too.

  • meeja hoor

    “Daily Ireland is a newspaper which has a broader appeal”

    The figures suggest quite the opposite. No, the figures PROVE the opposite.
    The Irish Independent and Irish Times are Ireland-wide successful papers. The show is plainly over and that’s genuinely unfortunate for anyone who relies on it for income…but it could hardly have panned out any differently given the quality of the product. It is deeply ironic that a champion of painfully parochial DI lambasts the IN for being ‘provincial’. There is no appetite beyond nationalist areas of the six counties for DI whatsoever. And the appetite in them is demonstrably pitifully meagre.
    It is as good an example of SF approved doublespeak as you’ll find for the Irish News’ ability to continue to grow (the only paper in its genre to do so!) and DI to manage to shrink from its already tiny base, to be heralded as evidence of the IN’s inevitable ‘defeat’…C’mon, you just look silly.

  • the grey lady

    C’mon, aren’t we used to this black is actually white clamour from the Shinners by now?
    The same which trumpeted the agreement as a victory for republicanism (while achieveing none of its core goals and indeed making unity an impossibility,ruled out by a unionist veto inperpetuity). And the same delusional mindset will no doubt announce shortly that we actually HAVE a united Ireland already. With leadership like that, no wonder even the bloody unionists have us over a barrel. Pathetic.

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    I really shouldn’t bother commenting on this type of topic here – as those who come on have their views pre-set and have no interest in a debate. That’s the reason they don’t want Daily Ireland about the place – because that would present an alternative viewpoint to the stale and stagnant standpoint which is advanced in the likes of the Irish News.

    It’s clear the IN is ‘safe’ – for now – but the long term outlook isn’t so clear for that newspaper as it is, notwithstanding anything else that may be said about DI, Provincial (note the capital ‘P’ and I, for one, believe the Irish public want and deserve better. Daily Ireland has already outlasted one daily – the Daily View – and has outlived all the expectations of the denigrators. It will continue to do so.

    As for the poster who rather blithely suggested that Daily Ireland stories featured here for a reason other than their excellence – I challenge him to provide an example. Daily Ireland’s Joe Brolly story was the story of the past week in the north and it left the Irish News – and the other even more Provincial press in the ha’penny place.

    Long may that continue and f**k the begrudgers.

  • Setanta

    I think Daily Ireland is more than welcome if it continues to provoke debate the way it does on here.

    Why does every thread about the media seem to end up in a few red-faced people predicting the demise of Daily Ireland time after time?

    To get back to the thread – I think one interesting point is the continuing decline of the Belfast Telegraph. Are people tiring of the “Ulster angle to Mars mission” type stories and the former Miss Northern Irelands running about in their bikinis in Botanic Gardens on the latest PR driven wheeze?

    I seem to to see free copies of the Belfast Telegraph everywhere I go – hotel lobbies, bus and train stations etc. Hardly a sustainable tactic when trying to inflate your circulation.

    And are Subscriptions counted in the figures as these are promoted heavily by Daily Ireland and the Irish News in particular.

  • John Maynard

    Oilibhear Chromaill
    As I believe you are aware, the publisher of Daily Ireland was in the States recently seeking new investment – and he was sent home with a flea in his ear. This is the end of the line for DI and the only question now is how to let it fade away quietly with the minimum of embarrassment to the movement. So wouldn’t it be wise of you to assist in the general lowering of expectations, rather than heralding the coming of the united socialist republic with Marty Millar’s masthead over the new constitution? I mean, ffs, look at the circulation figures man, because everyone else is – particularly advertisers, investors and commercial competitors.

    Meanwhile, in the spirit of professional media inquiry, do share with us your opinion of a newspaper that employs a television correspondent who urges readers not to pay their tv licence (an offence regularly punished with short custodial sentences) yet who himself is a former BBC-NI employee who had no problem taking the Queen’s Shilling when it kept him in deep-dish pizzas and Star Trek memorabilia?

    Please let us know your thoughts on this subject – because every journalist in Belfast is just dying (of laughter) to hear them.

  • meeja hoor

    “I, for one, believe the Irish public want and deserve better”

    But the figures PROVE that they don’t.

    “Daily Ireland has already outlasted one daily – the Daily View”

    Yes, merely because it was even more ill-conceived and embarassingly executed than DI. Which is an achievement of sorts in itself.

    “has outlived all the expectations of the denigrators. It will continue to do so.”

    Like JM stated: LOOK AT THE FIGURES. You are setting yourself up for a particularly humiliating fall, here. You’re familiar with the Dead Parrot sketch? You’re coming across like the shopkeeper.

  • Setanta

    As I was saying some moments ago…would it be possible to discuss other papers apart from Daily Ireland?

    If Daily Ireland is too republican and that’s a problem somehow, should the Newsletter become less Unionist?

    What about the poor standard of journalism in the Sunday Life – “Loyalist Tranvestite Drug Dealer ate my bap Shock” etc etc?

    Why does a page on Teletext pack in more information than an article in the Belfast Telegraph?

    Could the Irish News have too much horse racing or GAA coverage?

  • Garibaldy


    I’d say it’s the horses and GAA, in addition to the death notices, that keep the Irish News afloat, and ahead of its immediate competition. I also think that it gives more space to a non-SDLP viewpoint than DI gives to non-PSF views. I think that is something that the DI has lost compared to the Andytown News and the rest of the stable, which do attempt to give a broader swathe of opinion for their more localised areas.

    The Newsletter is desperate too, and the Telegraph has declined but is still better than the rest. It has better columnists, which is what a lot of papers are pouring their money into as people get their info now from the net. The relatively poor quality of the news in these papers is partly due to the decline in the stories to be covered with the end of the Troubles. The Sunday papers are tabloids, and do what tabloids do. Much of it is rubbish, but they also do some good stuff, especially on criminal and paramilitary activity. Where would the like of the Mc Cords be without their support, albeit for their own commercial reasons?

  • Yokel

    Daily Ireland, poor business acumen behind it. Simple as that, or is failure not allowed to mentioned?

  • Mick Fealty

    For what it’s worth, Daily Ireland is taking on the toughest regional nut in the UK or Ireland. Unlike many of its regional cohorts, The Irish News’s owners are in the fight for readers for the long term, whilst it’s rivals are paring down margins left right and centre.

    For those interested in the genuine news story here, (and not just getting one in on a paper who’s politics they dislike) in the Observer Peter Preston had a salient warning yesterday for those papers who abandon serious news values in order to get their figures up (post to follow).

  • Mick Fealty


    If what you say is true, how would explain the consistent long term migration of IN alumni into a range of quality broadsheets in Ireland, UK and beyond? It’s not something the paper makes a big deal about, but then again it is surely an indication that the paper has been doing something right, and for quite some time…

  • Garibaldy


    Go into any bar in nationalist areas, and you’ll see groups of men (and occasionally women) clustered round the Irish News for the sports and particularly horse racing coverage as they decide who to bet on for the day. That’s what I meant about this coverage, and the death notices, being what gives the IN the edge over the DI. It’s the same reason people read the Sun rather than the Times.

    I don’t dispute that NI journalism, including the IN, has produced a lot of good journalists. Having been in England, they are much superior to their English equivalents, especially on TV. But the truth these days is that without the Troubles and with the decline in conflict etc, no matter how good a journalist is the paper will be less interesting than it was say 10 years ago as the quality of story to report or uncover has declined.

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    .Meanwhile, in the spirit of professional media inquiry, do share with us your opinion of a newspaper that employs a television correspondent who urges readers not to pay their tv licence (an offence regularly punished with short custodial sentences) yet who himself is a former BBC-NI employee who had no problem taking the Queen’s Shilling when it kept him in deep-dish pizzas and Star Trek memorabilia?

    Apart from the apparent man-playing evident in the above emission from John Maynard, he’s obviously a slow learner.

    The reason given by said TV columnist at the time of that particular court case for not paying his TV licence was nothing to do with the BBC. It had to do with the fact that TG4 wasn’t being made available in the North, as per the Good Friday Agreement commitment to do same, and as a result of his stance on that question, the Governments got their heads together and sorted the problem out. A fact for which Mr Maynard should express undying gratitude seeing as he can now watch the NI Snooker contest at the Waterfront Hall and various other sporting events free gratis, without subscription, should he so require. Not to mention to brush up on his Irish.

    Given the failure of that attempted prosecution – and the Television Licenscing Authority took the writer in question to court but soiled their legal trousers when they heard they were going to be tackled on the Irish language issue – he is now refusing to pay for the TV licence because the BBC is failing to fulfill its public service remit regarding Irish language provision.

    According to figures provided by the ULTACH Trust, the BBC investes £28 per Welsh speaker in Wales, £24 per Gaelic speaker in Scotland and a paltry £1.20 per Irish speaker in the North of Ireland.

    So, in the light of those figures, there’s no way any Irish speaker should pay for a TV licence which recently was hiked £5 to £131.50.

    That’s a lot of subsidy for the foodies who frequent the BBC canteens.

    So when “Professor” Maynard wishes to return to this subject, he should perhaps acquaint himself with some facts and an argument worthy of consideration. If he wants abuse, well, he’s not in the right place.

  • fair_deal


    How did the Ultach research define speaker in the respective languages?

  • Donnacha

    Well, from an utterly mercenary point of view, there is no way the DI can continue with circulation figures like that. It shouldn’t even be a twice-weekly paper with figures like that. The first paper I worked for was threatened with cloisure when circulation fell below 16,000. And yes, to head off the smartarses, it probably WAS all my fault….

  • Oilibhéar Chromaill

    Fair Deal, I presume it’s to do with the Census figures in each respective jurisdiction. The Census figures are the only authoritative figures which can be used in this regard.

  • fair_deal

    Thanks OC. Although I don’t think the term “authoritative” can always be applied to census figures and lesserused/minority languages

  • Oilibhéar Chromaill

    No doubt the Census figures are equally as dubious regarding other catergories also. The point is that they’re at least an indication of those who support the Irish language in some way or form.

    They’re the only figures we have and they’ll have to do the BBC.