Roy Morgan Research today releases the latest Print Readership and seven-day Cross-Platform Audience results for Australian Newspapers for the 12 months to June 2015.
Digital audiences continue to grow for many mastheads with some, including the Daily Telegraph and the Sydney Morning Herald, up overall thanks to increasing numbers of online or app readers. The AFR’s inserts Financial Review Magazine and Boss have both gained readers over the past year, and Sunday issues across the country are holding ground.
Newspaper Print Readership
Readership of Print Monday to Friday editions have overall declined 11.3% in the total number of readers for the country’s major metropolitan papers.
The Age continues to outperform the industry weekday norm, with average issue readership down just 0.7% to 531,000. Throughout the most recent quarter however, readership has been below the full 12-month average, and will need a boost during the second half of this year to avoid suffering declines in the near future.
Melbourne competitor the Herald Sun shed 9.2% of weekday readers but remains Australia’s top print paper M-F with 870,000. In Sydney, its News Corp stablemate the Daily Telegraph declined 9.4% to 625,000, while the Sydney Morning Herald is down 3.6% to 515,000.
Nationally, The Australian is down 5.9% to 333,000 and the Financial Review fell 8.6% to 201,000.
Brisbane’s Courier-Mail now gets 420,000 readers per average weekday issue (down 13.0%) and the Adelaide Advertiser gets 321,000 (down 13.2%). The Newcastle Herald and Gold Coast Bulletin were the worst performing weekday titles, with each losing over a quarter of their readers since June 2014.
Saturday editions fared better—but still declined 8.8% overall. Both Mercuries rose: the Illawarra Mercury grew 16.3% to 50,000 readers on an average Saturday, and Hobart’s Mercury on Saturday grew 6.8% to 110,000. Of the majors, above-average performers include the Daily Telegraph (down 2.7% to 605,000), the Financial Review’s weekend edition (down 3.4% to 141,000) and the Sydney Morning Herald (down 4.1% to 727,000).
And making their respective weekday losses seem like windfalls by comparison, the Newcastle and Gold Coast papers now reach over a third fewer readers on Saturday than they did a year ago.
On Sundays, 4.8 million Australians still want a sleep in, a coffee, croissant and some good old un-clickable print news, down just 7.1%. TheSunday Tasmanian and Sunday Mail in Queensland were both just a touch shy of holding steady, while Fairfax’s Sun-Herald and Sunday Agedid better than average. The Sunday Telegraph is down 7.8%--enough to keep it above the million-reader mark.
Newspaper Inserted Magazines
The big winner again among Newspaper Inserted Magazines was the Financial Review Magazine, now with an average 462,000 readers per issue, up 15.8% thanks largely to the enduring popularity of Rich Lists. Boss also managed to grow to 104,000 readers (up 1.0%), bucking a 6.0% decline overall for readership of inserted mags.
But not all NIMs are equal—even those that are the same. For weekend titles inserted in both Sydney and Melbourne papers, readership is actually up in NSW, but dragged down by Victoria.
Fairfax’s Good Weekend is now read by 1,296,000 people, comprising 753,000 in NSW (up 2.0%) and 543,000 in Victoria (down 15.4%). Sunday Life’s overall decline of 5.6% to 876,000 belies a gain of 7.9% in NSW to 508,000 but a loss of 19.3% down south to 368,000 Victorian readers. The trend continues over at News Corp: in NSW, more people now read Sunday Style (up 1.6% to 523,000) but fewer do in Victoria (down 16.0% to 437,000). The total of 960,000 readers is 7.2% below last year’s result.
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.
The Sydney Morning Herald’s total cross-platform audience grew 5.0% to 3,563,000. Once again, its loss in net print readership during the week paled in comparison to the gain of 276,000 more digital readers. Now over 80% of the SMH audience arrives through website visitation or app usage.
At the Daily Telegraph, The Age and Sunday Times digital growth also more than compensated for print declines. The Tele’s masthead’s audience grew 1.0% overall to reach 2,544,000 people in an average week, still just ahead of The Age with 2,527,000 (up 2.7%). The Sunday Times recorded the largest cross-platform audience growth overall, up 5.5% to 901,000.
The Courier-Mail lost readers for print and gained them for digital—and ended up with exactly the same audience of 1,917,000.
However most mastheads were either unable to secure enough digital growth to compensate for print losses or actually lost digital audiences too. Even a big increase in digital readership of the Newcastle Herald couldn’t quite replenish its bigger print decline. The Adelaide Advertiser,Financial Review and The Australian also finished down despite digital growth, while the Herald Sun, Canberra Times, and West Australiandeclined on both fronts.
Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research, says:
“Although The Age has been one of the best-performing print titles over the past year, and just about maintained readership in a difficult climate riddled with heavy falls, we are now beginning to see some signs that a similar fate may have been deferred rather than avoided.
“Both the Financial Review Magazine and Boss have earned more readers, adding a little gloss to the AFR’s print results.
“And the comparatively positive figures for Sunday editions suggest that these print newspapers remain for many a preferred leisurely habit that we’re not so eager to swap for scrollable text, videos and hyperlinks.
“With three mastheads suffering a decline across both print and digital formats, plus another four down even despite making gains online, a digital content strategy is clearly not a universal magic bullet. First and foremost, publishers and their editors clearly need to ensure their online content is unique, compelling, functional and then, perhaps, even worth paying for.
“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.”
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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