The latest monthly EMMA (Enhanced Media Metrics Australia) data for the 12 months to September show newspaper audiences have stablised and started to creep upwards.
According to the latest EMMA figures, which cover the 13 newspaper titles that have the full suite of print and digital audience data, total news audiences increased by 4% compared to the 12-month period to June.
The majority of the major metro titles experienced marginal drops in print readership, with News Corp’s Herald Sun, with 1.43 million readers Monday to Friday, still the nation's most read newspaper.
Fairfax's The Sydney Morning Herald is top of the class in the total audience report, which is a combination of monthly print and digital readership. Both the SMH and The Australian have seen a bump in their monthly figures thanks to an increase in visitors to their websites.
The Newspaper Works said that among the potential market influences on the result is the recent federal election, adding that "reader engagement during the campaign demonstrated the continuing relevance of mainstream journalism in print and on digital platforms".
The EMMA figures are supported by new data from the Audited Media Association of Australia (AMAA), which shows paid digital sales have more than doubled year-on-year for the week day editions of The Age, The Australian and the SMH.
"The data released today validates the various strategies of news media brands to address structural transformation and shifting audience patterns," said The Newspaper Works CEO Mark Hollands.
"Yet, there can be no denying the massive audiences, engagement and influence of print. Almost 16 million newspapers are bought every week," he added.
Hollands said one indicator of change was the ratio of print-to-digital sales for The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian.