Roy Morgan Research has released the latest Print Readership and Cross-Platform Audience results for Australian Newspapers for the year to June 2014.
Although nearly all metropolitan newspapers lost print readers between June 2013 and June 2014, the majority of publications still reached more Australians overall thanks to the continuing growth in online visitation and app usage.
The Sydney Morning Herald has stretched its lead as the publication with the largest cross-platform audience, now reaching 3,392,000 people in an average week (up 7.5%). Despite losing 87,000 print readers in the year to June 2014, this was vastly over-compensated by the 349,000 increase in its digital audience—for net gain of 237,000 more people accessing the publication.
Although the Herald Sun’s digital audience grew by 164,000, this was not quite enough to counteract the 187,000 fewer print readers.
However it maintained second place overall with an audience of 2,716,000 people, ahead of stablemate the Daily Telegraph, which grew 2.8% to 2,520,000.
Print is average issue readership; digital is website visitation and app usage in an average seven days.
The largest proportional audience gains were for the Mercury (up 16.6% to 246,000) and the Financial Review (up 11.7% to 735,000). Digital growth is behind both publications’ overall audience gains: the Mercury’s website and app audience is up 53% in the year, and the Financial Review’s is up 49%.
The Adelaide Advertiser scored strong digital growth of 34% over the period, driving the paper to a 7.1% boost in overall audience to 1,088,000. The total audience for the Courier-Mail also rose (up 5.7% to 1,917,000), thanks to stable print readership and a solid 17% growth in digital.
The Age was the only newspaper to score a modest increase in average issue print readership (up 3%). Digital already accounts for around three quarters of the publication’s total cross-platform audience; a 6% rise in web visitation and app usage contributed to a 3.4% increase overall.
The Canberra Times now has a total audience of over half a million (509,000), almost four out of five of whom access the newspaper’s content via website or app (79%). Total cross-platform audiences declined slightly for The Australian (down 1.4%),The West Australian (down 3.0%) and the Sunday Times (down 3.2%).
Two newspapers gained readers of their Monday to Friday editions in the year to June 2014: the Canberra Times (up 8.2%) and Tasmania’s Mercury (up 3.7%).
The Courier-Mail and The Age held steady results which can easily be considered a victory in the context of the nation’s declining appetite for printed news.
The Northern Territory News, Gold Coast Bulletin and Townsville Bulletin also each retained their weekday readers over the year.
Readership of the Saturday editions of the Gold Coast Bulletin and Northern Territory News have both grown by almost 6%, withThe Age and Financial Review maintaining their average number of Saturday readers. Among Sunday papers, only the Sunday Territorian held on to its readers.
Of the results, Tim Martin, general manager of media, Roy Morgan Research, said: “The proportion of all newspapers’ total audiences who are accessing the content via website or app has grown in the past year. Between 42% and 79% of each newspaper’s audience is now using a computer, mobile or tablet to get its news fix.
“For most publications, the gains in digital audience numbers are more than offsetting the trend away from print readership.
“Roy Morgan’s ‘average issue’ print readership and ‘average 7 days’ cross-platform audience numbers are the industry standard for advertisers and media agencies looking to get a real and applicable understanding of how many Australians they can reach.
“Adding exponential depth to these Readership results, Roy Morgan Research’s Single Source data is the preferred multi-media audience measurement currency used by the majority of Australian media strategy, planning and buying agencies and telecommunications, financial services and automotive brands.”