Thursday, November 24th, 2011
According to the latest Roy Morgan Single Source data (October 2010 – September 2011), Fairfax’s The Australian Financial Review, Sydney Morning Herald and The Age all increased their net masthead readership (ie. the combined readership of a newspaper’s printed version and website), compared to the previous 12 month period (October 2009 – September 2010).

The largest percentage increase in masthead readership was recorded by The Australian Financial Review, which is up 9% on the previous year. The largest year-on-year decrease was reported by The Australian, with a 5% drop in this title’s net masthead readership.

2011 vs 2010 Net Masthead Readership – National, Sydney metro & Melbourne metro newspapers
(The combined readership of a newspaper’s printed version and website)

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source October 2009 - September 2011 (n = 104,041). 'Masthead readership’ is net readership of a newspaper’s printed version and website. NB: Readership for daily titles is for Mon-Sun issues (except AFR and The Australian, which are based on Mon-Sat).

With a net masthead readership greater than 2.6 million, News Limited’s Melbourne Herald Sun still holds the number one position. Its Sydney counterpart, The Daily Telegraph, is ranked third, after a minor decrease in net masthead readership of less than 3% year-on-year.

Perth’s Sunday Times also recorded an increase in net masthead readership during this period, whilst the remaining major metro titles stayed relatively static or reported only minor decreases.

2011 vs 2010 Net Masthead Readership – Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth & Hobart metro newspapers

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source October 2009 - September 2011 (n = 104,041). 'Masthead readership’ is the net readership of a newspaper’s printed version and its website.  Note: Readership for West Australian newspaper is Mon-Sat only; newspaper readership for all other daily titles (which excludes Perth Sunday Times) is based on Mon-Sun.

Looking at readership of the newspaper printed versions and websites separately, all but two mastheads (The Australian Financial Review and The Age) reported a decrease in readership of their printed version since 2010.

2010 vs 2011: Readership Details for Net Masthead, Printed Version, Website and Both

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source October 2009 - September 2011 (n = 104,041). 'Masthead readership’ is the net readership of a newspaper’s printed version and its website. 2011 and 2010 years are based on an October-September 12 month period.

Conversely, with the exception of The Advertiser and The Australian, all mastheads reported a year-on-year increase in the readership of their website. The 6% drop in The Australian’s website readership could be attributed to the high profile political events of 2010 including the removal of Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister, the Federal election campaign running up to August 21, 2010 and the resultant hung parliament.  These events would all have helped to boost The Australian’s website readership in 2010 (up significantly on 2009) – a masthead known for its extensive political coverage.

For a number of mastheads, increasing their website readership had a very positive effect on their net masthead readership, even in cases where readership of the printed version had actually declined during the same period.

For example, the net masthead readership of Melbourne’s Herald Sun remained fairly static year-on-year, even though the Herald Sun’s printed version readership actually decreased by 2% (41,000 readers). The decrease in readership of the Herald Sun’s printed version appears to have been offset by the 13% (or +89,000 readers) increase on the Herald Sun’s website readership.  Furthermore, these results also show that a higher proportion of the Herald Sun’s net masthead readership are now reading both the Herald Sun’s printed version and website. In fact, readership duplication between the Herald Sun’s printed version and website is up almost two percentage points since the previous year, and now represents nearly 13% of this title’s net masthead readership.

With 1.143m readers the Sydney Morning Herald’s website not only has the highest readership of the metro masthead websites, but it also increased its readership by the largest number, picking up an additional 121,000 readers since September 2010. Not unlike the Herald Sun, this increase in the Sydney Morning Herald’s website readership not only offset the decrease in readership of its printed version, but in this case actually contributed to an overall net masthead readership increase.

George Pesutto, Industry Director – Media, Roy Morgan Research says:

“The data commonly shows a lift in newspaper website readership that tends to counterbalance any decreases in readership of the printed versions. Generally the net masthead readership of the major metro newspapers has remained relatively static compared with one year ago.

“We’re seeing a minor level of migration of newspaper readers from paper to online, but the newspaper printed versions still account for the ‘lion’s share’ of each title’s net masthead readership.

“Whilst the delivery method or platforms for this content might be changing, what hasn’t changed is that Australians are still relatively loyal to their chosen newspaper brands. It’s apparent that consumers still rely on their preferred newspaper mastheads to provide them with news content, whether that’s via a printed version, a website, or both.”

The detailed Roy Morgan Time Spent with Media Report presents a series of tables that show the time spent with different types of media by different demographic groups in the population.

The detailed Readership Trend Reports provides the industry currency in readership figures. It is the most influential survey on newspaper and Newspaper readership in Australia and ensures selection of the most appropriate publications to reach Australians 14+. This report provides newspaper and newspaper inserted Newspaper readership from September 2001 to September 2011.

An extensive range of Roy Morgan 
media profiles, across print, Internet, radio, television, and more, is available. These profiles provide a broad understanding of the target audience, in terms of demographics, attitudes, activities and media usage in Australia.

Contact Profile

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


Growth in newspaper websites, time spent with media, media report



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