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 per cent 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 per cent), while the Daily Telegraph (M-F) shed 60,000 readers over the period (down 8.5 per cent 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 per cent to 57,000 and has maintained its Saturday readership; the Illawarra Mercury’s Saturday edition grew 15.9 per cent to 51,000 with almost no change in weekday readership (45,000); the Sunday Canberra Times grew 12.5 per cent to 72,000 while losing only 3.0 per cent of Saturday readers (down to 97,000); the Mercury in Tasmania was virtually unchanged on weekdays (82,000) and gained 4.9 per cent on Saturdays (up to 108,000).
It was a mixed bag for afternoon freebie mX: while readership in Melbourne grew 5.2 per cent 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 monthly AFR Magazine was the best-performing newspaper-inserted publication with 466,000 readers, up 15.6 per cent. 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 per cent, Good Weekend remains the most-read newspaper magazine with 1,334,000 readers across Victoria and New South Wales.
Weekday and Weekend Newspaper Readership
|March 2014||March 2015||March 2014||March 2015||March 2014||March 2015|
|Newspapers||R’ship (‘000s)||R’ship (‘000s)||R’ship (‘000s)||R’ship (‘000s)||R’ship (‘000s)||R’ship (‘000s)|
|Aust. Financial Review||234||197||160||134||–||–|
|Sydney Morning Herald||520||521||771||731||–||–|
|The Saturday Paper (NSW) (from Jul14)||–||–||–||48||–||–|
|Sunday Herald Sun||–||–||–||–||996||898|
|The Sunday Age||–||–||–||–||567||564|
|The Saturday Paper (VIC) (from Jul14)||–||–||–||39||–||–|
|The Sunday Mail||–||–||–||–||885||829|
|Gold Coast Bulletin||88||69||111||73||–||–|
|Sunday Tasmanian (Tas)||–||–||–||–||92||90|
|Northern Territory News||37||35||51||46||–||–|
Newspaper Insert Magazines
|% of Population 14+||(‘000s)|
|Mar 2014||Mar 2015||Gain/Loss||Mar 2014||Mar 2015||% Change|
|Weekend Australian Magazine||3.8||3.5||-0.3||738||679||-8.0|
|Financial Review Magazine||2.1||2.4||0.3||403||466||15.6|
|Good Weekend (NSW & Vic)||7.3||6.9||-0.4||1,408||1,334||-5.3|
|Sunday Style (NSW & Vic)||5.5||5.1||-0.4||1,058||989||-6.5|
|Sunday Life (NSW & Vic)||5.0||4.6||-0.4||958||896||-6.5|
|Sunday Telegraph TV Guide (NSW)||3.7||3.4||-0.3||720||650||-9.7|
|Sunday Herald Sun TV Guide (Vic)||3.2||2.6||-0.6||620||497||-19.8|
|Sunday Mail TV Guide (Qld)||2.9||2.6||-0.3||556||503||-9.5|
|Gold Coast Eye (Qld)||0.3||0.2||-0.1||55||43||-21.8|
|Sunday Mail TV Guide (SA)||1.9||1.7||-0.2||367||320||-12.8|
|Sunday Times TV Guide (WA)||1.9||1.5||-0.4||364||282||-22.5|
|STM – Sunday Times Magazine (WA)||1.8||1.5||-0.3||351||291||-17.1|
|Seven Days (WA)||2.1||1.8||-0.3||407||348||-14.5|
|West Weekend (WA)||2.1||1.9||-0.2||409||368||-10.0|
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 per cent to 3,521,000. The masthead’s 7.1 per cent decline in net print readership (to 1,257,000) was more than offset by an 11.7 per cent 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 per cent (to 1,921,000) for a net cross-platform gain of 2.4 per cent (to 2,522,000).
Although all News Corp’s metro dailies lost print readers, the Daily Telegraph, Courier-Mail, Adelaide Advertiser and Sunday 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 per cent 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 per cent drop in audiences overall.
The Australian held steady with digital, finishing up with a 3.5 per cent decline in total cross-platform audience. However, the Financial Review lost both print readers and web/app users—combined, it shed a tenth of its total audience over the year.
7-day Cross Platform Audiences for Newspapers
|Digital (web or app)||Total Cross-Platform Audience (print, web or app)|
|Publication||Mar 2014 (000s)||Mar 2015 (000s)||Mar 2014 (000s)||Mar 2015 (000s)||Mar 2014 (000s)||Mar 2015 (000s)||% change in Total Cross- Platform Audience|
|Sydney Morning Herald||1353||1257||2485||2815||3336||3521||5.5%|
Print is 7-day net readership (Monday to Sunday); digital is 7-day net website visitation and app usage.
Tim Martin, general manager of media, Roy Morgan Research, said: “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.”