Thursday, March 8th, 2012 - Roy Morgan Research
According to the latest Roy Morgan Single Source data (to December 2011), The Australian, Australian Financial Review, Herald Sun and The Age newspapers all achieved an increase in net print/online readership in the five year period from 2006 to 2011.
 
Roy Morgan Research has been measuring both print and online readership for a number of years now, and found that a substantial growth in website visitors has been the main contributor to the increased net print/online readership for each of these newspaper brands.


Metro Newspapers: Net Print/Online Readership (Australians 14+) – 2006 vs 2011


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, January 2006 – December 2011 (n = 320,974). Net print/online readership is based on newspaper readership and/or website visitation ‘in the last 7 days’ for Herald Sun/heraldsun.com.au, Sydney Morning Herald/smh.com.au, Daily Telegraph/thetelegraph.com.au, The Age/theage.com.au, Brisbane Courier Mail/couriermail.com.au, The Australian/theaustralian.com.au, West Australian/thewest.com.au, Adelaide Advertiser/adelaidenow.com.au, Perth Sunday Times/perthnow.com.au, Australian Financial Review/afr.com, Hobart Mercury/themercury.com.au.


The data shows that the net print/online readership of both national newspapers has increased in the last five years: The Australian by 17% (the single largest percentage increase) and Australian Financial Review by 13%. The Australian showed a slight drop in readers of their print copy in the last five years, while the Australian Financial Review maintained its print readership over the same period. Both national titles, however, reported huge increases in website visitation, e.g.: theaustralian.com.au now boasts 601,000 readers per week, as detailed in the following chart:


National Newspapers: Readership Analysis (Australians 14+) – 2006-2011


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, January 2006 – December 2011 (n = 320,974).


In Sydney, the Sydney Morning Herald retained the same net print/online readership in 2011 as it had in 2006 (as shown in the chart below). A 79% increase in website visitation for smh.com.au has more than offset a drop in this newspaper’s print copy readership over this five year period.


Sydney Newspapers: Readership Analysis (Australians 14+) – 2006-2011


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, January 2006 – December 2011 (n = 320,974).


Whilst the Daily Telegraph’s website, thetelegraph.com.au, nearly tripled its number of visitors in the last five years, this growth has not outstripped the drop in its print copy readership during the same period. This has resulted in an overall 8% decrease of the Daily Telegraph’s net print/online readership since 2006.

The readership data also shows that in the last five years the Sydney Morning Herald has actually overtaken rival paper the Daily Telegraph, and now boasts the highest net print/online readership in the Sydney market.

In Melbourne the net print/online readership of both metro titles has increased in the last five years: Herald Sun by 1% and The Age by 11%. In this market the Herald Sun collected an additional 28,000 readers since 2006, while The Age attracted an additional 179,000 readers, as shown in the chart below.


Melbourne Newspapers: Readership Analysis (Australians 14+) – 2006-2011


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, January 2006 – December 2011 (n = 320,974).


Even with The Age’s substantial growth in net print/online readership over the last five years, Melbourne’s Herald Sun still boasts the single largest net print/online readership in Australia, with nearly 2.6 million readers across its print copy and website.

As shown in the following chart, in Brisbane the five-year trend for net print/online readership differs to that demonstrated by the national, Sydney and Melbourne newspaper titles. That is, the Courier Mail actually recorded a slight decrease (9%) in its net print/online readership in the last five years, even though its website (couriermail.com.au) visitation more than doubled in this period.

It is likely that, since its 2007 launch, Fairfax’s Brisbane news website brisbanetimes.com.au (with an average weekly readership of 126,000) has taken some audience share away from couriermail.com.au, and possibly contributed to the Courier Mail’s overall slight drop in net print/online readership.


Brisbane Newspapers: Readership Analysis (Australians 14+) – 2006-2011


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, January 2006 – December 2011 (n = 320,974).


Similar to the Brisbane market, in Perth both the West Australian and the Sunday Times have shown a slight drop (5%) in their net print/online readership in the last five years.  During this period the three Perth news websites – thewest.com.au, perthnow.com.au and Fairfax’s WAtoday.com.au – all showed substantial growth in visitors.  In fact, in 2011 the (net combined) readership across the three Perth news websites in an average week was 337,000 readers.  Interestingly, it is actually the Sunday newspaper’s website, perthnow.com.au, which boasts the highest visitation out of the three Perth news websites, with 229,000 visitors in an average week.


Perth Newspapers: Readership Analysis (Australians 14+) – 2006-2011


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, January 2006 – December 2011 (n = 320,974).


In Adelaide the net print/online readership of The Advertiser has marginally decreased (7%) since 2006, even though its website visitation (adelaidenow.com.au) tripled during the same period.


Adelaide Newspapers: Readership Analysis (Australians 14+) – 2006-2011


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, January 2006 – December 2011 (n = 320,974).


George Pesutto, Industry Director – Media, Roy Morgan Research says:
 
“Despite the enormous number of websites that offer news content, newspaper mastheads continue to attract a large audience for news.

“This data proves that newspapers are successfully reaching wider audiences through new avenues such as online.  More importantly, the data also clearly demonstrates that for some newspapers, net print/online readership is actually on the increase.

“It is widely accepted that consumers connect with newspaper brands differently now.  So to look only at print copy readership is to see only part of the story.  This is particularly important when you realise that some newspaper brands are showing a thriving readership across their print and online channels – which is a far cry from any talk of declining audiences.

“Soon our App data will also be able to be combined with print and online readership data, to provide a true total masthead readership. And with assistance from newspaper publishers we will be working to measure growth in all news readership, as communication channels – such as smart TV – continue to evolve.”

 

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Roy Morgan Research is Australia’s best known and longest established market research and public opinion survey company. Roy Morgan Single Source is thorough, accurate, and provides comprehensive, directly applicable information about current and future customers. It is unique in that it directs all the questions to each individual from a base survey sample of around 55,000 interviews in Australia and 15,000 interviews in New Zealand annually - the largest Single Source databases in the world. The questions asked relate to lifestyle and attitudes, media consumption habits (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, catalogues, pay TV and the Internet), brand and product usage, purchase intentions, retail visitations, service provider preferences, financial information and recreation and leisure activities. This lead product is supported by a nationally networked, consultancy-orientated market research capability.
Shaun Ellis
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Keywords

The Australian, Australian Financial Review, Herald Sun, The Age, Adelaide Advertiser

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