Irish News is best-performing newspaper - with more young readers
THE Irish News is celebrating becoming the best-performing locally-produced newspaper title in Northern Ireland.
Statistics from industry monitoring body the Target Group Index (TGINI 2016) show that it is the only paper in the north to increase readership over the past 12 months, with a 3.9 per cent rise.
The paper is now read by an average of 160,000 people every day - that's 6,000 more than a year ago.
And the TGINI figures come after The Irish News was confirmed last month by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) as selling more papers in Northern Ireland than either the Belfast Telegraph or Belfast News Letter.
The ABC media industry figures placed the Irish News as the second-best performing paper in the UK behind only the Leicester Mercury, whose sales between January and June were boosted by the stellar performance of the city's football team, which cruised to a shock Premier League title.
The TGINI results for The Irish News reveal that the most significant readership gain came in the 15- to 24-year-old age bracket, where the paper added 13,000 readers.
Marketing manager John Brolly said: "This impressive cohort of young readers coming into our brand is particularly pleasing and allows us to plan for the future.
"We are offering them and all our readers readers excellent daily coverage across news, sport, business, education, health, lifestyle and importantly opinion, and thankfully we are seeing that in the strength of our performance."
He added: "These figures clearly show that readers hold our paper in the highest esteem when it comes to their daily news and sport.
"We would like to thank them for their ongoing loyalty and their very strong affinity to the Irish News."
Over the last year the Belfast Telegraph readership has fallen by 1,000 to 154,000 while the News Letter has seen a 2,000 readership dip to 63,000.
There were also readership declines during the period for The Sun (down 10,000) and Mirror (down 5,000).
Irish News editor Noel Doran said: "During a very difficult period for the newspaper industry, it is an exceptional achievement for a title to actually increase its audience.
"The TGI figures confirm our position as the leading Belfast-based daily, and also indicate a striking rise in our younger readers, so we have a particularly solid platform as we set out to strengthen our print and digital presence."