• Freesheets soar in Dublin, tabloids suffer

    The Irish Times highlights the interesting drop in tabloid sales on the back of the launches of two Dubiln Freesheets, Metro and Herald AM. (subs req)

    While it was likely that the biggest loser to the new offers would be the red-tops the figures prove just how badly they’re suffering so far; The Irish Daily Mirror’s sales fell 6.5 per cent to 73,754. The Irish Daily Star fell 3.9 per cent to 97,654, while the Irish Sun was down 7.9 per cent at 110,191. There is no mention in the article of The Evening Herald or Irish Independent’s sales figures.

    This information is good news for The Irish Times whom own a 45% stake in Metro; the fact that the publication is taking readers from a different market to their core publication shows just how shrewd a move it was by the Irish ‘paper of record’.

    It’s also good news for the Irish operations of Associated Newspapers who have had a bad run lately with costs rocketing and circulation plummeting. As Associated didn’t have a tabloid daily on the market when they launched Metro they had nothing to lose from its launch and no existing market-share to protect; in other words their gains are completely positive.
    Independent News & Media on the other hand are in the unusual position of losing as well as gaining from the news; The Star, The Evening Herald and The Irish Independent all had their audiences and all ran the risk of losing out if freesheets took off. IN&M now has a successful (although probably not profitable) freesheet that is taking market-share from its other daily newspapers and the company may have a hard decision to make down the line should the situation continue.

    Would it be best to continue with an unprofitable newspaper just to try and compete with Metro especially when that newspaper is taking profit from your other operations? The likely decision would be to make Herald AM profitable by any means necessary; after all if Herald AM pulled out of the market it would be likely that it’s readers would switch to Metro rather than back to The Star, Evening Herald, Irish Independent, Mirror or Sun.