Irish News scores with monthly sports mag

The introduction of a monthly sports magazine and the gradual evolution from broadsheet to tabloid have helped maintain the Irish News’s top slot in the morning newspaper sector – according to editor Noel Doran.

For the second period running it was the only morning title to put on sales, up 0.4 per cent to 48,518.

Doran said: “Some papers have gone directly from broadsheet to compact which is quite a shock for people. We went to Berliner in 2000, then compact in 2005 and there was really no reader resistance at all, in fact we put on sales – most relaunches don’t nowadays.

“We also introduced a successful monthly sports magazine which I think is a first for a regional paper.”

The paper’s figure was also helped by promotional activity in schools for tickets to Gaelic football games.

The Liverpool Daily Post had the biggest decline in the morning sector, down 8.7 per cent to 17,103 following the introduction last October of a hybrid paid and free distribution strategy giving out 6,000 papers in the city centre.

Editor Mark Thomas said: “The takeup of our free initiative has been extremely strong, and the response from our new readers and advertisers has been very positive. We have built our readership to new heights and our target audience of ABC1s has grown significantly.”

For the first time in recent history Cardiff’s Western Mail sold less than 40,000. At the end of last year the Welsh Assembly’s culture committee agreed to launch an inquiry into Trinity Mirror’s role in the media market in Wales, as it holds a near majority of ownership in the country. The inquiry was launched after around 40 members of staff were axed at the end of 2005, ten of whom were journalists. Editor Alan Edmunds would not comment.

The Northern Echo’s switch to compact on Saturdays appears to have had the desired effect of boosting sales on the day. Before going compact there was virtually no difference between the Saturday and weekday sales but in the latest set of figures Saturday sales were 1.5 per cent better than the weekday figure at –4 per cent.

Editor Peter Barron said this ongoing increase was one of the key reasons the paper has since gone compact during the week.

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