Tuesday, June 4th, 2013 - Roy Morgan Research

As the reported feud between Woman’s Day editor Nene King and her former boss, New Idea editor Dulcie Boling escalated from 1987-1997, Roy Morgan Research was already providing the industry with the magazines' readership figures.

Part one of Paper Giants: Magazine Wars aired on Sunday, charting the ‘golden years of the glossies’ from 1987 to 1997—and the feud between Woman’s Day editor Nene King and her former boss, New Idea editor Dulcie Boling. By then, Roy Morgan Research was already providing the industry with the magazines’ readership figures.

In 1987, Women’s Weekly was the number 1 magazine in the country, with over 3.6 million readers, readership figures covering the 12 months to March 1987 show.

New Idea was in second spot with an average 2.5 million readers, almost a million more than Woman’s Day. But when Nene King left New Idea and took up the editorship of Woman’s Day in 1988, the magazine’s readership grew for five consecutive years while New Idea’s stayed flat. By March 1993 the mags were neck and neck, with both weeklies getting over 2.5million readers.

Woman’s Day took a lead of almost 200,000 readers in 1994 to become the most-read weekly mag in Australia. But by then, the ‘golden age’ was coming to an end.

Today, 1.890 million Australians read Woman’s Day, giving it the highest magazine readership in the country, the Roy Morgan Research readership data to March 2013 shows. Women’s Weekly is second with 1.873 million.

In 2013 though, the battle for readers includes a fourth paper giant: Better Homes and Gardens, the country’s third most-read magazine with 1.846 million readers. New Idea still matches the highest rating TV programs for audience, with an average of 1.357 million readers.

Australians still make magazines a regular part of their lives—however now there are more magazines to choose from and more that appeal to women and men with different attitudes, lifestyles and interests.

Today, an average 6.52 million men read an average issue of a whole range of magazines while 7.42 million women read a mix of Australia’s many magazines.

George Pesutto, General Manager, Media and Communications says:

“It’s interesting to see the treatment of the publishing heroines of the 80s and 90s when you think that in twenty years’ time we may well be looking back to iconic publishers of today.

“Magazines remain a fascinating medium with enormous appeal to a broader audience of Australians than ever before. With motoring, sport, food, homemaker and even fashion magazines growing in popularity, who will be the publishing ‘Giants’ of the 21st century?”

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Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia) April 1986 – March 1997, average annual sample n = 56,269


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Roy Morgan Research


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
P: 03 9224 5332
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As the reported feud between Woman’s Day editor Nene King and her former boss, New Idea editor Dulcie Boling escalated from 1987-1997, Roy Morgan Research was already providing the industry with the magazines' readership figures.

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