Newspapers: SMH Retains Top Spot For Readership In Surprisingly Upbeat News For Publishers

Newspapers: SMH Retains Top Spot For Readership In Surprisingly Upbeat News For Publishers
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Roy Morgan Research today releases the latest readership report for Australian newspapers for the 12 months to December 2017.

You can read the results in full here.

Some 15.9 million Australians 14-plus now read or access newspapers in an average seven day period either in print, or online via website or app – ‘cross-platform’.

Cross-platform audiences have increased for four out of Australia’s top five leading mastheads and for the first time four of Australia’s leading mastheads now have an audience of over three million Australians.

These are the latest findings from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey of 50,139 Australians aged 14-plus over the 12 months to December 2017.

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Australia’s most widely read masthead is again the Sydney Morning Herald – with a cross-platform audience of 4,255,000, up 0.4 per cent from a year ago ahead of Sydney rival the Daily Telegraph with a cross-platform reach of 3,446,000, up an impressive 5.9 per cent in a year.

For the first time Melbourne dailies The Age with a cross-platform reach of 3,061,000 up 4.7 per cent in a year; and the Herald Sun with a cross-platform reach of 3,002,000 down 1.6 per cent in a year both have cross-platform audiences of over 3 million.

Australia’s two leading national mastheads experienced strong cross-platform audience growth with The Australian up 3.1 per cent to 2,550,000 and the Australian Financial Review growing even faster, up 8.3 per cent to 1,453,000.

Print Readership

Overall 7.5 million Australians read print newspapers, including nearly 5.4 million who read weekday issues, over 4.5 million who read Saturday editions and nearly 4.1 million who read Sunday titles. Although print readership has declined during 2017, the latest print readership figures show over 37.5 per cent of Australians still read print newspapers demonstrating that they continue to be an important medium for advertisers to use when targeting large numbers of key demographics.

Weekend newspaper readership down, but AFR Weekend and The Saturday Paper up

Australia’s leading weekend newspaper is again Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph with a print readership of 879,000 – down 8.9 per cent over the past year ahead of southern stablemate Melbourne’s Sunday Herald Sun with a print readership of 844,000 (down 2.1 per cent).

Other major titles lost ground including the Saturday Herald Sun down 4.6 per cent to a readership of 785,000, the Sunday Mail in Queensland which declined a sizeable 12.4 per cent to a readership of 647,000 and the Saturday Age which was down five per cent to a readership of 627,000.

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However, it was several national weekend papers that out-performed the category averages with the weekend Australian Financial Review increasing its readership by an impressive 12.8 per cent to 132,000 while readership of The Weekend Australian was down only slightly to 629,000 (down 1.1 per cent). Relatively new entrant The Saturday Paper also increased readership by 0.9 per cent to 115,000.

Newspaper Inserted Magazines – Stellar increases nearly 20 per cent

Relative newcomer Stellar increased its print readership by an impressive 19.8 per cent to 1,052,000 in the year to December 2017, but despite a decline in readership Good Weekend remains Australia’s most widely read newspaper inserted magazine with print readership of 1,199,000 (down 10 per cent).

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Other newspaper inserted magazines failed to match the performance of Stellar with Sunday Life on 702,000 (down 11.1 per cent) and the Weekend Australian Magazine on 683,000 (down 2.8 per cent).

Strong performers outside the top five included the Financial Review Magazine which increased its readership 22.3 per cent to 406,000, Boss magazine which surged 25 per cent to 135,000 and Wish which improved 18.3 per cent to 129,000.

Newcastle Herald the star Regional Newspaper in 2017

The Newcastle Herald is the star performer amongst Australia’s regional weekday mastheads in 2017 growing print readership by 7.6 per cent to 85,000 over the past year. The Newcastle Herald was the only leading regional weekday masthead to grow print readership in 2017. The Gold Coast Bulletin with 54,000 readers was down 11.5 per cent and the Canberra Times with 50,000 readers down 3.8 per cent.

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The total cross-platform audiences of the Canberra Times has declined by 9.3 per cent over the past year to 476,000 but this is still clearly Australia’s most widely read regional title ahead of the Newcastle Herald with a cross-platform readership virtually unchanged from a year ago on 292,000, up 0.7 per cent.

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