Roy Morgan has released the latest readership results for Australian newspapers for the 12 months to December 2019.
15.5 million Australians aged 14 and over read or access newspapers in an average seven day period via print or online (website or app) platforms.
Interestingly, it’s been a year following Nine’s takeover of formerly-owned Fairfax papers and in that time there have been increases in cross-platform audiences for its three major titles The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and the Australian Financial Review since the merger closed in December 2018.
Australia’s most widely read masthead The Sydney Morning Herald has increased its cross-platform audience 4.1 per cent to 4,303,000 and Melbourne stablemate The Age is in second place with a cross-platform audience of 2,850,000, an increase of 1.2 per cent.
However, the standout performer over the past year is again the Australian Financial Review (AFR) which increased its total cross-platform audience by a significant 14.1 per cent to 1,642,000 driven by a substantial increase in the AFR’s digital audience – up by 19.9 per cent to 1,402,000.
The News Corp daily the Herald Sun is in third place overall with a cross-platform audience of 2,756,000 in front of its Sydney counterpart the Daily Telegraph which now has a cross-platform audience of 2,525,000 – although both have declined over the last year.
National broadsheet The Australian with a cross-platform audience of 2,372,000 fills out the top five.
Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said it’s been a good year for Nine.
“Roy Morgan’s latest readership results for 2019 show it has been a good year for the Nine Entertainment owned Fairfax newspapers.
“Although Nine Entertainment holds the edge for performance improvements in 2019 the News Corp owned titles continue to dominate the list of Australia’s most widely read mastheads accounting for four out of the top six led by the Herald Sun (2.8 million), Daily Telegraph (2.5 million), The Australian (2.4 million) and the Courier-Mail in sixth on nearly 1.8 million.”
Print newspapers read by around six million Australians
Nearly 6 million Australians read the listed print newspapers, including around 4.2 million who read weekday issues, almost 3.5 million who read Saturday editions and more than 3 million who read Sunday titles.
Although print readership has declined year-on-year, these figures show almost 3-in-10 Australians read 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
Australia’s best read weekend newspaper is again Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph with an average issue print readership of 618,000 – down 25.2 per cent over the past year – ahead of southern stablemate Melbourne’s Sunday Herald Sun which has a print readership of 568,000 (down 22.9 per cent).
Other major titles to decline included the Saturday Herald Sun down 17.2 per cent to a readership of 552,000, The Weekend Australian down 8.6 per cent to 539,000, The Sunday Mail in Queensland down 14.2 per cent to 503,000, the Saturday Sydney Morning Herald down 23.8 per cent to 448,000 and Melbourne’s Saturday Age down 16.3 per cent to 440,000 readers.