New ABC figures show that sales of paid-for local newspapers are plummeting

Westmeath Independent doesn’t report figures and circulation of Westmeath Examiner falls by 20 per cent in four years

Sales and circulation of paid-for newspapers in the Midlands are plummeting, according to the latest audited figures released by the UK-based Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC ).

In the Westmeath area, circulation figures for the Westmeath Independent have not been reported. Industry sources say this is an indication of an even more dramatic fall in circulation than was feared. The Westmeath Examiner has shown a fall in circulation from 8897 to 7656.

This continues a trend apparent over the last number of years, with circulation having decreased by over 20 per cent since 2005.

This compares unfavourably with the circulation of the Athlone Advertiser and Mullingar Advertiser, which have a combined circulation of over 25,000 copies per week, a large number of which are delivered door-to-door.

These figures prove conclusively that more people read an Advertiser newspaper in the Midlands than read all of the other local newspapers combined.

The figures also show that the Advertiser’s parent newspaper, the Galway Advertiser, is the largest circulation regional newspaper in the country — illustrating the brand’s dominance of the free newspaper market.

The latest results from ABC of the circulation figures for Ireland's local paid-for newspapers show the trend of decreasing circulation has intensified, with some papers, such as the Westmeath Independent no longer reporting figures.

Industry insiders are putting this failure to report figures down to the dramatic fall-off in circulation for many local paid-for newspapers throughout the country.

ABC circulation figures are reported twice yearly for Ireland’s regional press, and the latest report, covering the period January to June 2009, confirms the alarming rate of decline for many local papers.

However, the latest ABC figures show that the paid-for newspaper market in Ireland is suffering major losses in newspaper sales, advertising sales and crucially readership.

Many paid-for newspapers in the region are planning or have already implemented layoffs, wage cuts and working hour reductions in a bid to survive. Media owners are now trying to reduce staff numbers to sustainable levels.

It is believed that many consumers are refusing to pay prices as high as €2 weekly per newspaper when there is so much free media available through free newspapers and free local radio. The tumbling sales figures of paid-for local newspapers comes at a time when Government advertising, which was traditionally monopolised by the older paid-for newspapers, has been significantly scaled back.

Owned by the media industry, ABC independently verifies and reports on media performance, providing a major trading currency for media buyers and owners across print, events, digital and evolving platforms.

The full details of the latest newspaper figures are available online at www.abc.org.uk

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