The Joint National Readership Survey (JNRS) figures released yesterday also show that this newspaper has by far the highest readership growth of any other Irish newspaper, daily, evening or Sunday.
During the period under review, January to December of last year, the Irish Independent lost 37,000 (-6%) readers a day, while the Irish Times gained 13,000 (+4%). All the tabloids saw readership fall.
The Irish Examiner’s figure of 260,000 daily readers, an increase of 18%, comes on the back of sustained circulation growth, confirmed by the latest Audit Bureau of Circulation data released last week.
Readership measures the number of people who have read the newspaper, whereas circulation measures the number of people who have bought the paper.
Editor Tim Vaughan said that, in addition to the newspaper’s overall increase in readership, there were some very positive underlying trends, including a 26% increase in the 15-44 age bracket and a consolidation of reader loyalty.
“This is the third year in a row that we have gained significant readership increases in an intensely competitive environment,” he said. “It’s a great result and very gratifying for the team here who put so much into producing the best possible newspapers for our readers.”
The newspaper also won a number of awards during the period under review, including a major European design award that will be presented in April.
Last Monday it was also announced that the paper had won two further awards of excellence from the prestigious American Society for News Design, the Oscars of the industry
The JNRS figures also show that the paper continues to enjoy a remarkable level of reader loyalty in the daily market, with 8 out of 10 reading the Irish Examiner exclusively. This ‘solus’ readership statistic is much prized by advertisers, who can feel confident of hitting their target market in a newspaper with such a loyal readership.
Head of marketing, Mairead Maher, said the figures showed that continuing investment in the brand was paying dividends, with increased readership across all key socio-economic categories, including 22% growth in the affluent ABC1 sector.
“These are excellent results and confirm that the paper really delivers to both readers and advertisers,” she said.
The newspaper’s dominance of the affluent Munster market is as strong as ever, with 197,000 more readers in the province than the Irish Times, 106,000 more than the Irish Independent and 59,000 more readers than the Independent and the Times combined.
The JNRS figures are good news for the newspaper industry as a whole.
Despite the growth of other media, including the internet, newspaper readership in Ireland grew by 2% last year.
An incredible nine out of 10 people read a newspaper at some stage during the week and over half the adult population read a daily newspaper.
The Irish Independent lost most of its readers in Dublin city and county, while sister title the Evening Herald lost 41,000 (11.8%) of its readership.
Of the red-top tabloids, the Star suffered most, down 42,000 readers, while the Mirror dropped 12,000 and the Sun 3,000.
In the Sunday market, the biggest winner was the Sunday Business Post, with a 16% increase of 28,000 readers, followed by the Sunday Independent, with a 1.9% gain of 20,000 readers. The Sunday Tribune gained 1,000 readers.
The biggest loser was the Sunday World, which dropped by 71,000 (-8.3%), while Ireland on Sunday, fared only marginally better, losing 62,000 readers (-12.4%.).