Roy Morgan: Aussies Are Reading SMH & Gardening Australia

Roy Morgan: Aussies Are Reading SMH & Gardening Australia

Market research company Roy Morgan has released the latest readership figures for Australian magazines and newspapers, with both experiencing an uplift.

According to the results on newspapers – which the research company points out was unaffected by the Nine/Fairfax merger – four out of five Australians still read newspapers, with almost 80 per cent reading papers via print or online.

As per the results, The Daily Telegraph is most read newspaper in NSW, while The Herald Sun is the most read newspaper in Victoria.

The Sydney Morning Herald is Australia’s most widely read masthead, with a cross-platform audience of 4,279,000, up 1 per cent from a year ago.

This increases its lead over Sydney rival the Daily Telegraph which has a cross-platform audience of 3,245,000, down 5.1 per cent in a year.

Top State-wide & National Mastheads by Total 7 Day Cross-Platform Audience (Print & Online)

Publication Print Digital
(web or app)
Total Cross-Platform Audience*
(print, web or app)
% Change
  ‘000s ‘000s ‘000s ‘000s ‘000s ‘000s %
Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) 1,094 1,036 3,691 3,787 4,235 4,279 1.0%
Daily Telegraph 1,395 1,306 2,394 2,330 3,418 3,245 -5.1%
The Age 950 881 2,395 2,634 2,805 3,085 10.0%
Herald Sun 1,569 1,465 1,960 2,082 3,055 3,085 1.0%
The Australian 922 831 1,709 1,965 2,412 2,564 6.3%
Courier-Mail 1,032 911 1,295 1,267 2,049 1,961 -4.3%
Australian Financial Review (AFR) 405 374 1,076 1,083 1,370 1,370 0.0%


Overall 7.2 million Australians read the listed print newspapers, including 5.1 million who read weekday issues, more than 4.3 million who read Saturday editions and nearly 3.9 million who read Sunday titles.

Although print readership has declined year-on-year, the latest figures show more than 1 in 3  Australians (35.6 per cent) are reading print newspapers.

In today’s digitally-focused world they continue to be an important advertising medium to reach both mass and niche audiences.

Speaking on the results, Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said: “Over 16 million Australians 14+ access newspapers in an average 7 day period either in print, or online via website or app. This represents an extra 500,000 Australians now consuming newspaper content via one format or another compared to a year ago, an increase of 3.3% in total cross-platform audience size.

“It’s easy to see why Nine Entertainment Company regarded Fairfax Media as a valuable merger partner when one considers the eyeballs Fairfax Media’s leading mastheads already attract.

“The Sydney Morning Herald is Australia’s leading masthead with a total audience of over 4.2 million and southern stablemate The Age attracts an audience of over 3 million.

“The Australian Financial Review (AFR) is Australia’s top business-focused publication and attracts a highly valuable audience of over 1.3 million.

Meanwhile, the readership of print magazines of Australians aged 14 and over is up 0.5 per cent, or 65,000, from a year ago.

These are the latest findings from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey of 50,035 Australians aged 14+ in the 12 months to June 2018.

Gardening Australia had the strongest performance of Australia’s leading magazines growing its print readership by 26.3 per cent to 490,000.

Australia’s two most widely read free magazines also performed well. Coles Magazine readership was up 21.5 per cent and Fresh readership increased by 16 per cent. Better Homes & Gardens remains Australia’s most widely read paid magazine with more than 1.6 million readers.

Other leading magazines to perform strongly include Women’s Weekly readership up by 5.2 per cent, Woman’s Day (+1.6 per cent), National Geographic (+5.9 per cent), Royal Auto (+4.5 per cent), Magazine (+5 per cent), Road Ahead (+3 per cent) and Australian Geographic (+1.4 per cent) and just outside the Top 15 Qantas magazine was up 4.5 per cent.

Publication June 2017 June 2018 % Change
  ‘000s ‘000s %
Coles Magazine 3,755 4,563 21.5%
Fresh 3,590 4,165 16.0%
Better Homes & Gardens 1,733 1,671 -3.6%
Women’s Weekly 1,471 1,548 5.2%
Woman’s Day 1,281 1,302 1.6%
National Geographic 1,078 1,142 5.9%
New Idea 1,132 1,075 -5.0%
Open Road (NSW) 1,064 1,024 -3.8%
Royal Auto (Vic) 646 675 4.5% Magazine 619 650 5.0%
That’s Life 698 626 -10.3%
Road Ahead (Qld) 598 616 3.0%
Australian Geographic 560 568 1.4%
House & Garden 531 519 -2.3%
Gardening Australia 388 490 26.3%

Speaking on the results, Levine said:“Total cross-platform audiences for Australian magazines increased by more than 100,000 to over 15 million in the last year. This encompasses an increase in readership of print magazines by 65,000 to 13.6 million.

“Despite the challenges we often hear about facing the magazine industry, leading categories including Food & Entertainment, General Interest, Health & Family and Motoring magazines have all grown their audiences significantly over the last year.

“The Mass Women’s magazine category led by iconic titles Women’s Weekly and Woman’s Day was also up compared to a year ago. The category no doubt benefited from an above average amount of Royal content highlighted by the birth of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s son Louis in April and the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle a month later in May.

“From these strong performances across the board, and with nearly three-quarters of Australians aged 14+ reading them, it is clear that magazines offer advertisers a wide range of mass market and special interest options to reach their target audiences.”

To see the full report, click here.

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