The Roy Morgan readerships stats have arrived, and are painting a positive picture for the future of both newspapers and magazines.
Per the figures which look at the year to June 2016, with regional papers on the up, and weekend papers drooping slightly. Print magazines still reached 12,477,000 Australians 14+, up 0.8 per cent compared with the 12 months to June 2015.
In the weekday newspaper stakes, Fairfax’s The Herald Sun remained the most-read weekday newspaper in print, despite a 2.1 per cent drop in readership.
News Corp’s The Daily Telegraph saw the biggest readership gain of the lot, yet still trailed behind the leader by over 200,000 readers on average. Amid claims that weekday print papers are dead, four regional metropolitan weekday newspapers scored double-digit proportional growth in readership; the Newscastle Herald, The Advocate, Geelong Advertiser and Gold Coast Bulletin.
In the weekend world of news, the winner was The Daily Telegraph, up 0.5 per cent to 608,000 readers on Saturdays, while the Sunday Telegraph remains the most-read print masthead in the country with 1.01 million readers per average issue (down 0.9 per cent).
The Saturday Paper is living up to its name, with the title’s first year-on-year figures now showing growth of 13.5 per cent to 118,000 readers per average issue.
Given weekend newspapers are being banked on as the future of print, it’s not entirely reassuring that Sunday paper readership fell by almost seven per cent to less than 4.5 million people.
Including all print readership, web visitation and app usage, the Sydney Morning Herald remains Australia’s most-read masthead, reaching a combined audience of 4,081,000 in an average week. Seventy-one per cent of the masthead’s audience read it only via web or app, just 15 per cent read it only in print, and 14 per cent saw news in both formats across the week.
The Tele was in second spot behind SMH for total readership, however still sat just shy of one million readers behind.
Proving that readers are fast moving to digital forms of news, however, Roy Morgan CEO Michelle Levine said, “Well over half of each metro masthead’s total audience now access it via website or app, ranging from 54 per cent of the Newcastle Herald’s to 85 per cent of the Sydney Morning Herald’s”.
The best performing print magazine categories year-on-year were Food & Entertainment (with the combined net reach of the category growing 14.76 per cent), Business, Financial & Airline (up 4.6 per cent), General Interest (up 3.26 per cent), Music & Movies (up 2.66 per cent), Health & Family (up 2.66 per cent), and Home & Garden (up 1.26 per cent).
Among the top 20 most read mags, Coles Magazine, published by Medium Rare agency on behalf of Coles, sits atop the list, and grew 28.6 per cent to almost 3.5 million readers per average issue.
Up next were Fresh, up over 22 per cent to over three million, and Pacific Magazine’s Better Homes & Gardens, up 2.3 per cent to 1.86 million, beating other Bauer title Australian Women’s Weekly who only grew 0.9 per cent to 1.77 million.
NewsLifeMedia’s Taste.com.au Magazine saw the biggest jump, up by 37.7 per cent in readership to 573,000.
Losing out in the readership game were publications such as Woman’s Day, down 10.7 per cent, That’s Life, down 11.7 per cent, Take 5 down by 13.3 per cent and Reader’s Digest Australia, dropping 12.9 per cent.
Many other magazines outperformed their category per Roy Morgan stats. Yours bucked the trend in Women’s Lifestyle (up 17.9 per cent to 138,000), while GQ did the same in Men’s (up 12.9 per cent to 79,000); in Women’s Fashion, the stand-outs were Vogue Australia (up 3.1 per cent to 334,000) and Frankie (up 2.6 per cent to 320,000).
Overall, print clearly remains the cornerstone of magazine reach. Vogue continues to have the highest online reach overall (422,000), while only it and Gourmet Traveller so far reach more readers online than in print. The only other titles to reach less than 60 per cent of their total Audience via print are Cosmopolitan, Reader’s Digest, Time Magazine, and The Monthly.
“Unlike for newspapers, print remains the dominant channel through which Australians interact with magazine titles,” Roy Morgan CEO Michelle Levine said.
“Accumulation shows how a magazine’s total audience ‘accumulates’ or grows week by week as people read their copy and pass it on to others to read. Understanding this dynamic is imperative for advertisers and agencies to maximise Return on Investment (ROI) – by optimising flighting of magazine campaigns as well as ‘being in the know’ about when to best measure ROI.”