February 4, 2014 by newsgetting
At the beginning of August last year, The Sun‘s Irish edition stopped carrying topless Page 3 pictures. Its editor, Paul Clarkson explained at the time that he had taken the decision because of “cultural differences.”
So, after almost six months without the pictures, how has their absence affected The Sun’s sales in the Irish Republic?
In July 2013 – the last full month with Page 3 – The Sun sold 64,450 copies a day on average in the Republic. In August, sales rose to 67,433 and then fell back to 64,599 in September and 64,171 in October. They went down to 60,756 in November and fell further, to 59,606, in December. (January’s figures are not yet available).
Some qualifications are important. Newsprint circulations are falling across the board. The overall Irish market for editions of UK-based popular papers slipped by 6.7% in the final six months of 2013 compared to the same period the year before. The Sun’s fall was slightly greater, at 8.6%.
But The Sun has been declining in Ireland at a faster rate than its rivals anyway. It lost 10% of its sale in the first six months of 2013 compared to the first six months of 2012. So the second half performance was something of an improvement.
Of course, it’s not possible to say whether Page 3 is the reason it sold 64,450 copies in July and 7.5% fewer (59,606) in December, which is always a poor sales month.
On the basis of this analysis, I would therefore suggest that the loss of Page 3 in Ireland has not made any discernible difference to the paper’s circulation.
Doubtless, the UK editor, David Dinsmore, and News UK‘s executive team, will have been monitoring these figures closely too. Then again, there are those “cultural differences” to consider.