THE Irish Independent has gained more than twice as many readers as its two biggest rivals added together, extending its position as the nation's most popular daily newspaper.
The latest Joint National Readership Survey shows that during 2012, the Irish Independent had an average readership of 521,000 adults – up 44,000 on the previous year.
This means that this newspaper's readership is now almost 10,000 greater than the combined readership of the 'Irish Times' and 'Irish Examiner'.
The Irish Independent's growth in the last year was far ahead of its rivals. The 'Irish Examiner' and the 'Irish Times' added some 19,000 readers between them.
There was a significant rise in this newspaper's readership in Dublin and Leinster. The number of ABC1 readers also jumped by 18,000 readers to 264,000.
Apart from the Irish Independent, Independent News & Media's (INM's) other titles all performed strongly.
The 'Evening Herald' increased readership by 16,000 to 250,000. The Irish Independent and 'Evening Herald' now have more than 719,000 readers between them each day, taking into account any cross over in readership.
In the Sunday market, the 'Sunday Independent' continued to dominate, with 905,000 readers. The 'Sunday World' kept an average audience of 801,000 adults.
"We are delighted with the latest readership figures and view them as validation of our strategy and commitment to customers to deliver products that are relevant, entertain and are value for money, regardless of the platform they choose," Declan Carlyle, managing director of INM, said.
"With our readers giving us their vote, we in turn provide our advertisers with the leading platforms and creative solutions for their brands."
Elsewhere on the Sunday market, the 'Sunday Times' saw its reader numbers slide to 380,000. Thomas Crosbie Holdings' 'Sunday Business Post' saw its readership drop by a further 14,000 to 140,000.
The 'Irish Daily Star', which is a joint venture between INM and Northern & Shell, had about 360,000 readers by the end of last year, well ahead of rivals, the 'Irish Daily Mirror' and 'Irish Sun', which had 223,000 and 306,000 readers respectively.