No frees in Irish readership survey yet

Almost 2 million Irish (56% of the 15+ population) read a paid newspaper on a daily basis, 1.8 million (51%) read a paid morning paper in the last surveyed period (July 2007-June 2008) according to the Joint National Readership Survey.

In the same period of 2006/2007 this was slightly less, meaning total weekday readership is rising.

Over a longer time span, the picture looks rather different for different titles. In general, tabloids like The Star, The Mirror, The Daily Mail and the Sun seem to be gaining readers – although the last title lost somewhat compared to the previous period.

The Irish Independent is losing readers. The Times is stable compared to 2006/2007 but lost compared to 2005/2006. (click on picture for better view)

Missing in the graph are free dailies Metro and Herald AM. Metro asked to be surveyed in 2006, but the JNRS, whose mission is “to measure average issue readership of Newspapers and Periodicals in the Republic of Ireland” denied the request, it concluded:

“that Metro did not satisfy the requirements for admission to the survey. The JNRS measures the readership of nationally available paid-for titles and is open to paid-for titles which are specifically produced for the Irish market and receptive to advertising placed by advertisers for that market, so that it is enabled to be, or become, an advertising platform for the Republic of Ireland market.”

Metro filed a complaint to the Irish Competition Authority, in order to make the JNRS change their policy on free publications.

In July 2007 the JNRS opened the discussion on “the possible inclusion of free publications”. In September 2007 it “has adopted amended admission criteria which allow for the inclusion of certain free publications.” (see all news releases)

In January 2008 the Competition Authority decided that it would be

“closing its inquiry into a complaint made by the publisher of Metro. The inquiry resulted from a complaint made about the refusal of the Joint National Readership Survey (JNRS) to include Metro in its readership survey. Metro is a free newspaper distributed daily on weekdays in the Greater Dublin Area. In response to the preliminary findings of the Competition Authority investigation, JNRS has agreed to permit free newspapers such as Metro to be included in the survey without admitting any liability. Metro has recently entered into an agreement with JNRS to be included in its readership survey for 2008.”

The full 2008 survey therefore will include Metro (and hopefully) Herald AM as well.

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