Thursday, May 12th, 2016 - Roy Morgan Research

All national and capital city Australian metro newspaper mastheads now reach more readers in digital than print—and the country’s most-read print paper is only the fourth most-read overall, new Cross-Platform Readership from Roy Morgan for the 12 months to March 2016 shows.  

The Sydney Morning Herald remains Australia’s most-read newspaper across print and digital combined with 4,087,000 readers total in an average week. Digital audiences include all readers via website or app, whether on computer, mobile or tablet.

3,489,000 Australians now access the Sydney Morning Herald through digital channels in an average week—85% of the masthead’s total cross-platform audience. This includes 2,875,000 (70% of the total) who only read the paper in one (or more) digital forms, and 614,000 (15%) whoalso read at least one print edition from Monday to Sunday. The remaining 598,000 only read the SMH in print.  

Fairfax’s other two mastheads also reach over four in five of their readers via digital: 2,361,000 of The Age’s total cross-platform audience of 2,860,000 (83%) read it on computer, mobile and/or tablet, as do 413,000 of the Canberra Times’s audience of 489,000 (84%). 

The Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph reach the most Australians in print in an average week, almost tied at 1,539,000 and 1,536,000 print readers respectively. However when digital readers are included, the Herald Sun’s total cross-platform reach of 2,837,000 drops it to in fourth overall—just behind The Age (which rises from the sixth most-read in print to third overall)Digital boosts the Tele more, more than doubling its readership than to 3,120,000, in second overall, behind the SMH.

Although all national and capital city metro daily mastheads now reach a majority of their net weekly readers via digital, a number of them stillalso reach a majority via print, including the Herald Sun. While 60% of the West Australian’s total audience is digital, 58% is print—meaning 18% of its readers use both (the highest rate of ‘cross’ in ‘cross-platform’ of any masthead). Other titles that still can still reach most of their audiences in print include the Courier-MailAdelaide AdvertiserMercury and Newcastle Herald—which is the one newspaper with (just barely) more print than digital readers.


Michele Levine, CEO – Roy Morgan Research, says:

“As we reported with our Print Readership results last week, Roy Morgan has advanced its digital measurement capabilities and data. The results broadened our intelligence into behaviour across devices, and we have fine-tuned cross-platform readership figures accordingly to deliver publishers, agencies and advertisers the most accurate reach data available.

“The enhanced cross-platform figures show that all major Australian newspapers now reach a majority of their readers via digital. In both Sydney and Melbourne, News Corp’s newspapers have more print readers than their Fairfax competitors; but when we include digital reach (and therefore also out-of-state readers), both the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age surpass their counterparts.   

“In balancing the pros and cons (and revenue and ROI) of reaching print and digital audiences, publishers and advertisers clearly need to have a thorough understanding of who reads only one platform or the other, who reads both, and what the proportions mean. For example, only around 18% of the SMH’s online audience also read print editions; but this cross-over represents a majority of print readers (51%) who also access the masthead via digital.

“By contrast, only a little over one in four Daily Telegraph's or Herald Sun's 1.5million-plus print readers also read the same title online—with over 1.1 million people reading in print only.”

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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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