The decline and fall

News papers are in trouble, and it isn’t hard to see why. The figures published today by Independent News and Media (INM) tell their own story.

The group puts a brave face on it, citing a 12% rise in online advertising revenue to €9.3m, and pointing to debt restructuring, but there’s a deeper problem.

Sales are falling, as they have done since a 2008 peak (see graph below), and while some newspaper folk cling to the hope that this is a recession effect, and will pass once Ireland turns enough corners, international experience suggests newspaper readership is, quite literally, dying off.

Readers are moving online, and online revenues, even with 12% growth, cannot compensate for declining circulation and print advertising streams.

Here’s the brutal statistic: print advertising fell by €9.5m in one year, more than total digitial revenue of €.9.3m.

This isn’t just a problem for INM. Ad sales and circulation figures look even worse for other daily titles.

There’s only one exception. The Irish Farmers Journal is not only seeing increased copy sales, they’ve even managed to convince readers to pay for their online product.

We surely live in interesting times.


By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.


  1. Interesting re: Farmers Journal. Can’t say I’m a regular reader of the FJ, is this similar to the FT model, a niche publication that people in an industry really need and value? Or is something else going on there?

  2. Partly its covering a niche market with accurate and timely information (and doing it better than anyone else), but there’s also a degree to which it comes down to being the only paper really reporting on rural (not just farming) issues. Not all readers are farmers, but they manage a combination of news and features their readers value, both on paper and screen.

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