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£12m press investment sparks compact plan for News

The Irish News has revealed plans to switch to a new compact format next spring, when it opens its own £12m purpose-built press facility.

The move will give the paper a capacity of 96-pages of full-colour, and will see it change from its current Euro, or Berliner format – adopted when it switched from a traditional broadsheet in 2000 – to compact which is approximately 10cm shorter.

The announcement comes after the latest ABC figures revealed the independently-owned morning paper had the best actively purchased sales increase of any regional daily – morning or evening – in the UK over the last six months.

Editor Noel Doran said: “The switch to a compact format will improve the Irish News in every respect. We will maintain the highest standards of quality in the paper while offering an enhanced service to readers and advertisers.

“I think it is significant that we are making the change at a time when the Irish News is already in a position of considerable strength, and is setting standards for the rest of the newspaper industry.

“We now have the opportunity to take the paper to new heights, and I believe we can face the future with confidence.”

  • The current Irish News
  • The Irish News is currently produced by a contract printing firm, but when the paper opens its own press facility, just one mile from its Befast offices in Belfast, it plans to perform its own contract printing services including other newspapers, cold set magazines and trim products on a Man Roland press.

    Noel said: “We believe the advertisers will be very happy with the change for a number of reasons. At present we have a limited amount of colour to use and where it falls is the subject of a friendly rivalry between the editorial and advertising departments.

    “With the new press, we will have the capacity for a 96-page colour compact, with practically no limit on colour.”

    No date has yet been announced for the first compact Irish News, but a trial run is not planned before its official launch.

    Noel said: “It’s just going to be rolled out – it will be a big day for the paper. The Friday will see the last Berliner and we will print on the Sunday for the Monday when we will make the switch.”

  • The Irish News has an audited circulation of just more than 50,000. The last annual TGI NI survey released in August indicated that readership had jumped by eight per cent over the last 12 months, and by 17 per cent over the last five years.

    The ABC Island of Ireland report said the paper was one of only two Irish daily papers to increase circulation over the last year.

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    ©NEP 2004