Roy Morgan Research today releases the latest Print Readership and seven-day Cross-Platform Audience results for Australian Newspapers for the survey period 12 months to March 2015.
The weekday editions of Fairfax metro newspapers in Melbourne and Sydney have bucked the downward national trend: 564,000 people now read the average issue of The Age Monday to Friday (up 5.2% compared with the 12 months to March 2014) and 521,000 read the average Monday to Friday Sydney Morning Herald (virtually unchanged over the period).
News Corp’s metro dailies in Melbourne and Sydney are still the most-read weekday papers in the country—but print readership continues to decline: the average number of print readers for the Herald Sun (M F) has fallen from over a million in March 2014 to 869,000 (down 13.2%), while the Daily Telegraph (M-F) shed 60,000 readers over the period (down 8.5% to 648,000).
Some regional papers are performing strongly—or at least better than their metro equivalents: the Cairns Post (M-F) is up 9.6% to 57,000 and has maintained its Saturday readership; the Illawarra Mercury’s Saturday edition grew 15.9% to 51,000 with almost no change in weekday readership (45,000); the Sunday Canberra Times grew 12.5% to 72,000 while losing only 3.0% of Saturday readers (down to 97,000); the Mercury in Tasmania was virtually unchanged on weekdays (82,000) and gained 4.9% on Saturdays (up to 108,000).
It was a mixed bag for afternoon freebie mX: while readership in Melbourne grew 5.2% to 141,000, its Brisbane and Sydney editions were each among the worst performing weekday papers.
Although the Financial Review suffered double-digit decreases for both its weekday and weekend editions, its monthlyAFR Magazine was the best-performing newspaper-inserted publication with 466,000 readers, up 15.6%. A large part of this success came from two highly read issues: the ever-popular Rich List issue in July and Young Rich List included in November—content now available for AFR since Fairfax discontinued the BRW print edition in late 2013.
Despite a modest decline of 5.3%, Good Weekend remains the most-read newspaper magazine with 1,334,000 readers across Victoria and New South Wales.
Cross-Platform Audience is the number of Australians who read or accessed a newspaper’s content via print, web or app in an average 7-day period. Fairfax continues to lead the way with its strategic focus on digital content. The Sydney Morning Herald was the big winner, with its combined print and digital audience growing 5.5% to 3,521,000. The masthead’s 7.1% decline in net print readership (to 1,257,000) was more than offset by an 11.7% increase in the number visiting the website or using the app during an average week (to 2,815,000). The Age also posted solid digital audience growth of 5.8% (to 1,921,000) for a net cross-platform gain of 2.4% (to 2,522,000).
Although all News Corp’s metro dailies lost print readers, the Daily Telegraph, Courier-Mail, Adelaide Advertiser andSunday Times each gained digital audiences, with web/app growth in Sydney and Brisbane enough to offset the mastheads’ print declines. Brisbane’s web and app in particular did well, expanding 17.4% to now be nudging a million digital users a week. However in Melbourne the Herald Sun was one of only four mastheads to lose digital audiences over the period (alongside the Financial Review, Mercury and West Australian) delivering a 7.3% drop in audiences overall.
The Australian held steady with digital, finishing up with a 3.5% decline in total cross-platform audience. However, theFinancial Review lost both print readers and web/app users—combined, it shed a tenth of its total audience over the year.
Tim Martin, General Manager - Media, Roy Morgan Research, says:
“These results mark for the first full 12-month on 12-month comparison since Fairfax moved to a tabloid format for its Sydney and Melbourne papers—and clearly the decision has paid off with both The Age and Sydney Morning Herald out-performing the industry.
“With the latest news readily available 24 hours a day from an ever-increasing number of Australian and international sources, the power of print lies in delivering trustworthy, in-depth coverage of stories that matter most to local readers. Although the number of Australians reading print newspapers on an average day is declining, there is clearly a continuing need for the sort of comprehensive content best presented by words and pictures on a printed page.
“Roy Morgan’s ‘average issue’ print readership and ‘average 7 days’ cross-platform audience numbers are the industry standard for advertisers and media agencies looking to get a real and applicable understanding of just how many Australians they can reach.
“Adding exponential depth to these readership results, Roy Morgan Single Source is the preferred multi-media audience measurement currency used by the majority of Australian media strategy, planning and buying agencies as well as telecommunications, financial services and automotive brands.
“With the major publishers all having set up or bought digital properties to replace the ‘rivers of gold’ that once flowed from print classifieds, Roy Morgan will also be further exploring the cross-platform audiences of mastheads and those real estate, job and car websites and apps.
“We will also be taking a closer look at regional and community papers—so stay tuned.”
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.
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