Summarising its 2007 preliminary results, Independent News and Media described its revenue from property advertising in Ireland as ‘weak’. Fairly safe to assume, then, that since 68% of INM’s revenue comes from advertising compared to 20% from newspaper sales (Source: INM Annual Report 2007), there are sound business reasons for using editorial content as a means of shoring up sources advertising revenue where possible. In particular, one can seek to attract and maintain advertising custom by maintaining the public interest in the property market, whilst presenting as plausibly positive a picture of said market as possible.
This is especially true with the Sunday Independent, a title not generally purchased for its cast-iron commitment to reality-based journalism, and therefore more flexible in terms of what it can print without getting abandoned by its loyal readership. See, for example, yesterday’s piece on fleeing to the protection, imploring the help and seeking the intercession of Ireland’s millionaires in order to get the economy into recovery position:
The Celtic Tiger economy helped to create 33,000 millionaires in this country, excluding their property interests; some are multi-millionaires.
They are millionaires because they worked hard during the boom years, and they deserve their success. More power to them.
The time has come, however, for them to give the country a dig-out, as it were. They need to lead the way towards recovery by investing again. By spending. There are bargains out there, particularly in the property sector.
There is, of course, a difference between investing and spending. In a market where house prices are falling twice as fast as a year ago and show no sign of stopping, it would take a remarkable millionaire indeed to invest his or her money in the housing market (the type of millionaire who was only a millionaire because (s)he simply wanted to acquire as many houses as possible). In most cases, they might be better off keeping their cash under their mattress.
The encomium to millionaires contained here is interesting: millionaires deserve their money because they ‘worked hard’ (though one did not, I presume, have to work particularly hard to see one’s property portfolio appreciate and then make the sale before the market turned). Yet plenty of people under, say, the average industrial wage, also worked hard, and did not become millionaires. The logic here dictates that these people also got what they deserved: in many cases, unemployment and repossession.