Newspaper print circulation maintained its steepening decline in the September quarter but there appears to be hope for publishers as digital sales finally start to make inroads.
Blossoming digital sales have driven a number of the major metro titles to record total circulations.
Fairfax in particular has scored a notable turnaround in the circulation figures for the September quarter released today by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), which include year-on-year comparisons for combined print, digital and package sales (masthead sales).
Although Fairfax's major metro titles endured more hemorrhaging in print sales, overall masthead figures for the Monday to Friday edition of The Sydney Morning Herald received a much needed shot in the arm with a 7.1% bump on the same quarter last year. This result is all the more striking when you take into account the 14.8% decline in the last round of ABC figures in the june quarter. The Saturday SMH experienced a 2% decline in the latest round of figures.
There was more good news in Victoria for Fairfax as The Age Monday to Friday posted a 12.2% increase for the quarter, following a 7% decline last one. The Sunday edition of The Age jumped 4%.
Not such good news for Fairfax’s Sunday offering with the Sun Herald dropping 6%.
The latest ABCs brought mixed news for News Corp, with total masthead sales for The Australian improving but print figures for the The Telegraph taking a tumble.
The Australian posted a 9.3% increase in total masthead sales, despite its print circulation dipping by almost 8%, while the weekend edition of the title fell marginally by 1%.
Worringly for News, its all conquring The Daily Telegraph saw its Monday to Friday print edition slip 15% and its weekend print offering almost 14%.
Elsewhere in print, the Australian Financial Review weekday edition fell 6% and the Saturday edition 9.8%.
"The data shows that people are consuming print and digital versions of our products to satisfy their increasing appetite for news," said a News Corp spokesperson.