Roy Morgan: Newspaper Readership Declines 2.2%, But 15.7M Aussies Are Reading

Roy Morgan: Newspaper Readership Declines 2.2%, But 15.7M Aussies Are Reading
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Roy Morgan has released the latest readership results for Australian newspapers for the 12 months to March 2019.

Over 15.7 million, or 76.3 per cent, of Australians aged 14-plus now read or access newspapers in an average 7 day period via print or online (website or app) platforms, a fall of 2.2 per cent from a year ago.

Although most leading newspapers had a decline in total cross-platform readership there were several bright spots. The Herald Sun grew its digital audience to over two million while the Australian Financial Review increased its total cross-platform audience by 4.6 per cent to 1,469,000.

In addition Western Australia’s only metropolitan newspaper the West Australian grew its digital and cross-platform audience 2.2 per cent to 1,095,000 and The Saturday  Paper had strong growth across print and digital readership and grew its total cross-platform audience by 16.7 per cent to 259,000.

These are the latest findings from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey of 51,362 Australians aged 14-plus in the 12 months to March 2019.

Australia’s most widely read masthead continues to be the Sydney Morning Herald – with a cross-platform audience of 4,043,000, down 5.3 per cent from a year ago. Melbourne daily the Herald Sun with a cross-platform audience of 2,905,000 is now in front of its Sydney stablemate the Daily Telegraph which now has a cross-platform audience of 2,871,000 – despite both declining over the last year.

The Age with a cross-platform audience of 2,792,000 (down 10 per cent) and national broadsheet The Australian with a cross-platform audience of 2,465,000 (down 4.6 per cent) both declined from a year ago.

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Print Newspapers now read by a third of Australians (6.8 million)

Overall nearly 6.8 million Australians read the listed print newspapers, including almost 4.8 million who read weekday issues, over four million who read Saturday editions and more than 3.5 million who read Sunday titles. Although print readership has declined year-on-year, the latest figures show one-in-three Australians (33 per cent) are reading print newspapers. In today’s digitally-focused world print newspapers continue to be an important advertising medium to reach both mass and niche audiences.

Weekend Newspaper Readership down, Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph is most read

Australia’s best read weekend newspaper is again Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph with an average issue print readership of 780,000 – down 11.2 per cent over the past year – ahead of southern stablemate Melbourne’s Sunday Herald Sun which has a print readership of 682,000 (down 17.3 per cent).

Other major titles to decline included the Saturday Herald Sun down 17 per cent to a readership of 634,000, The Weekend Australian down 2.3 per cent to a readership of 594,000, The Sunday Mail in Queensland down 5.8 per cent to a 583,000 readers and the Saturday Sydney Morning Herald down 14.5 per cent to a readership 541,000.

There were two weekend newspapers to defy the broader industry trends with the Saturday Adelaide Advertiser increasing its readership by 2.2 per cent to 327,000 and the Sunday Times in Western Australia which now has a print readership of 340,000, up by 1.8 per cent from a year ago.

Another strong performer over the past year was Schwartz Media’s The Saturday Paper which increased its readership by 8.3 per cent to 131,000.

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Newspaper Inserted Magazines: Financial Review Magazine readership up

The Financial Review Magazine has had a good year increasing its readership by 1.2 per cent to 406,000. However, although down 13.8 per cent, Good Weekend clearly remains Australia’s most widely read newspaper inserted magazine with print readership of 1,006,000.

Real estate focused magazine Domain is the second most widely read newspaper inserted magazine in Australia with an impressive readership of 725,000 in the year to March 2019.

Stellar magazine is the third most widely read newspaper inserted magazine with a readership of 661,000, down 12.8 per cent on a year ago, and Sunday Life is the fourth most widely read newspaper inserted magazine with a readership of 621,000, down 10.6 per cent.

Several newspaper inserted magazines performed strongly over the past year and lifted their readership including Boss magazine now with a readership of 154,000 (up 2.7 per cent), the STM – Sunday Times Magazine which increased its readership to 238,000 (up 0.4 per cent), Wish which now has a readership of 125,000 (up 1.6 per cent) and the Gold Coast Eye magazine which increased its readership by 22.2 per cent to 33,000.

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Townsville Bulletin, Hobart Mercury and NT News increase print readership in 2019

North Queensland’s Townsville Bulletin had the most impressive readership growth over the past year of all regional titles with an increase in readership of 26.5 per cent to 43,000. The Hobart Mercury increased weekday readership by 6.1 per cent to 52,000 in the year to March 2019 to become Australia’s equal second most widely read regional weekday masthead behind the Newcastle Herald.

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Despite a decline in readership over the past year the Newcastle Herald – which as part of the Australian Community Media regional and community newspapers was recently sold by Nine Entertainment Company to businessman Anthony Catalano for $125 million – remains Australia’s most widely read regional title with a print readership of 56,000 (down 29.1 per cent).

Another bright spot for regional titles was the NT News based in Darwin which increased its readership by 13 per cent to 26,000 in the year to March 2019.

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