Daily Ireland chiefs brush off fall in sales

By Dominic Ponsford

The backers of new Belfast-based pro-United Ireland newspaper Daily
Ireland have insisted the paper’s longterm future is safe despite
suffering a dip in sales.

After a launch ABC figure for the three months from February to
April of 10,474, its circulation for the three months from May to July
dropped to 10,017. It kept above the 10,000 mark partly by increasing
bulk giveaway copies from 680 to 1,246.

Despite the drop,
managing director Máirtín O’Meulloir insisted the paper was well on
target and has established itself as a long-term fixture in the Irish
media scene.

The launch of Daily Ireland in February began a
flurry of newspaper activity in Belfast. At the end of March,
established evening broadsheet the Belfast Telegraph launched a morning
tabloid edition. In April, Local Press Ltd launched cross-community
tabloid Daily View. It lasted just five weeks.

O’Meulloir said:
“We are absolutely delighted with the figures – they include July,
which is the major holiday period in the North. We are spanking the
Belfast Telegraph morning edition [which has an ABC of 3,058] and we
sell more in Northern Ireland than the Irish Times.

“The Belfast Telegraph morning edition’s marketing spend was 10 times ours, so we have bested them.

“I
think that the recent exciting political developments have helped our
sales – we know our sales were considerably higher after the recent IRA
statement when we did a couple of very memorable front pages.”Daily
Ireland is currently 87.5 per cent actively purchased and O’Meulloir
hinted that it may increase the number of giveaway copies in the future.

“The
Belfast Telegraph gives away 10,000 copies a day and that’s a very
tempting model that would bring us up over 20,000. With the launch of
Metro in Dublin and the new Irish Daily Mail expected shortly, I think
the options should be cast open as we go forward.”

Financially,
O’Meulloir said Daily Ireland is on course. He said August was its best
month for advertising since launch, but added that the business plan
did not have the paper breaking even until several years in.

He said: “The Belfast Telegraph hoped we would do a Daily View or Dublin Daily.

“Now all our competitors are expecting that Daily Ireland is going to be around for a long time to come.”

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