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Just eight months after its official launch Sheldon Adelson's free Hebrew daily Yisrael Hayom (Israel Today) has outdistanced Maariv to become the second most widely circulated newspaper in the country, according to a TGI biannual survey of exposure for dailies, magazines and radio stations. According to the poll, Yisrael Hayom achieved a 20.2% daily exposure rate in the first half of 2008, compared to Maariv's 15.1%. The freebie has managed to undercut two well-established tabloids: While Yedioth Ahronoth came through relatively unscathed, losing just 7% of its readership for a total of 36.5% exposure, but Maariv took a more serious hit with circulation dropping by 13%. Similar results have been reflected in surveys conducted by Ifat Advertising Monitoring. They showed that advertising inches in both Yisrael Hayom and Yedioth Ahronoth rose in the first half of the year while ads in Maariv were down.

Bucking the trend of recent years, the total combined readership of Israel's five dailies - Yedioth Ahronoth, Yisrael Hayom, Maariv, Haaretz and Globes - remained unchanged in the first half of the year. However, the four more established papers (Yedioth, Maariv, Haaretz and Globes) lost 2% of their readership.

In the battle among the financial supplements, Yedioth sank slightly but readership of Maariv's financial supplement was down 9%, calculated annually basis (June 2007 to June 2008). TheMarker was the only supplement that gained ground over the past twelve months, with daily exposure levels reaching 16%. (The figure refers only to TheMarker as a supplement to Haaretz, and not to its readership as an independent publication).

According to TGI, 7.7% of those who read TheMarker do so on a daily basis, as do 7% of Haaretz readers. This is the first time that TheMarker has been surveyed as an independent paper, having only recently become available as a stand-alone.

Two newcomers to the survey are both distributed for free - Dudi Wiessman's Post, and the Dor Alon chain of gas stations, and 24 Dakot (24 Minutes), owned by Arnon Mozes.