Orkney Today happy with ABC

Newcomers to the busy local newspaper market made their mark in the latest six-monthly ABC figures.

Orkney Today, launched in October, has been given a circulation of 5,722 proving that, in Orkney at least, people are willing to read two local papers. Established rival The Orcadian was up 0.8 per cent year-on-year to 11,323. Orkney Today editor John Ross Scott said: “We reckon we are over the 6,000 mark now, which was the target we wanted to reach in the first year.

“People assume there’s a circulation war but that’s never been the case.

These figures show we can both survive. Our research shows the issues we seem to do well at concern young people, health and farming. People seem to like the paper and we still get people giving us the thumbs-up.”

In the Staffordshire town of Leek, a new weekly and its more established rival are proving less easy bedfellows.

Your Leek Paper launched in June and, although not posting an ABC, is claiming a circulation of 4,436. Most of its staff left the Leek Post and Times when it was taken over by Northcliffe and it appears to have taken a chunk of their old paper’s readership, with the Post and Times’s circulation down 10.4 per cent year-on-year to 10,974.

Irish-language morning paper Lá, launched in April by the Belfast-based Andersonstown News group, recorded a first ABC of 4,404. Managing director Mártín “‘Muilleoir said: “We’ve always said that 5,000 copies was sustainable, we’ve got a lot of bulks going to schools and colleges but it’s going in the right direction.”

Latest figures show that sales of Irish daily broadsheets are close to saturation point, writes Des Cryan in Dublin.

New ABC figures show that only the Irish Times increased circulation in the second half of 2003, compared with the same period a year ago.

The rise was a modest 965 copies (0.8 per cent) taking circulation to 115,500. The Irish Independent was down almost 5 per cent year-on-year to 161,300. The paper has just begun publishing a tabloid version and sales are said to be ahead of expectations.

The Irish Examiner was down 8.1 per cent to 59,000.

Among the Sundays, the top-selling Sunday Independent fell 4.2 per cent to 292,500; the Sunday World was up slightly to 285,000; Ireland on Sunday rose 5.8 per cent to 160,500 and sales of the Sunday Tribune and Sunday Business Post were both virtually unchanged.

By Dominic Ponsford

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