Wednesday 7 December 2016

Sunday Times circulation plummets as it loses 9,903 sales in H1

Published 23/08/2015 | 02:30

Sunday Times has suffered a blow to sales this year
Sunday Times has suffered a blow to sales this year

The Sunday Times suffered a massive haemorrhage of sales this year, latest figures show.

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The Rupert Murdoch-owned title lost an incredible 9,903 sales - or 9.9pc - between January and June compared to the same period last year, according to the latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC).

The UK-based Sunday Times, which prints an Irish edition, was also down 1.3pc on market share. It follows a predictable pattern of decline at the title.

At the same time, the Sunday Independent exhibited its credentials as Ireland's biggest force in the quality newspaper market.

The Sunday Independent continues to be Ireland's highest selling newspaper with 64.9pc of the quality Sunday market share, a multiple of the Sunday Times Dublin version.

The latest ABC figures show that the Sunday Independent circulation averaged 213,549 for the same period, a drop of 3.2pc - far outperforming the market.

The figures come in a bad year for the Sunday Times, which was at the centre of a controversy in June over its relationship with the UK government and British intelligence services.

The newspaper claimed that whistleblower Edward Snowden - famous for releasing a huge cache of classified US National Security Agency files - had endangered the lives of British MI6 agents after Russian and Chinese authorities had gained access to the documents.

The Sunday Times was unable to produce any evidence to support those claims and was heavily criticised.

The publisher of the Sunday Times, News Corp UK & Ireland Ltd, which trades as News UK, is also the publisher of the Sun and the News of the World, the Sunday tabloid newspaper caught hacking the phones of politicians, celebrities, the British Royal family and some members of the public.

The tabloid was subsequently closed down and the scandal led to the Leveson inquiry into poor standards and ethics in the British newspaper industry, which concluded that sections of the press "had wreaked havoc with the lives of innocent people whose rights and liberties have been disdained". The latest ABC audit shows that overall Independent News & Media titles continue to thrive in the Irish newspaper market, topping the quality daily, quality Sunday and popular Sunday newspaper markets.

According to ABC figures, the Irish Independent also leads in the quality daily newspaper market, accounting for 50pc of all sales, (109,524 copies) compared to the Irish Times (76,194), and the Irish Examiner (33,198). The Irish Independent also enjoyed an increase in its market share in 2015 (0.7pc).

The Herald is Ireland's largest all-day paper, selling 48,133 copies of its morning and evening edition. It holds 18.7pc of the daily popular market.

In the Sunday market, the Sunday World also continues to be the highest selling newspaper with sales of 178,867 per week, equalling 47.1pc of all papers sold in the popular market each Sunday. It also grew market share in 2015 (0.2pc).

The Sunday Business Post has dropped by 4.5pc to 32,498, according to the ABC figures.

The latest figures mean that the Irish Independent, Sunday Independent, Sunday World, and The Herald; Dublin's favourite daily newspaper, achieve sales on average of 1,290,225 copies per week.

INM editor-in-chief, Stephen Rae, commented: "The ABC figures confirm how INM titles have performed very strongly in the daily and Sunday markets. It proves once again the connection our papers have with the Irish people. The Irish Independent now accounts for 50pc of the quality newspaper market during the week and the Sunday Independent accounts for 65pc of quality Sunday sales. In the Sunday market generally, our two titles the Sunday Independent and Sunday World command 55.4pc of the total market.

INM group advertising director Karen Preston said: "These latest figures show clearly that INM's titles offer an extensive reach to advertisers.

"With over 1.2 million copies purchased each week, INM titles have the ability to target more readers than any other news agency, creating a great opportunity for brands to connect with key demographics and target audiences across all our platforms."

Sunday Independent editor, Cormac Bourke, said: "I am delighted that people are seeking out the quality Irish journalism of the Sunday Independent.

"This success - in the face of unprecedented change in our industry - is down to each and every member of the team that creates the Sunday Independent.

"We are, of course, very thankful for the support of our readers."

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