More bad tidings as newspaper readership falls again

By By David Blight | 9 November 2012

It's beginning to sound like a broken record. Print readership for newspapers saw another period of decline in the year to September 2012, while Roy Morgan's new combined print and online numbers didn't show growth either.

According to figures compiled by Roy Morgan, only six major newspapers saw print readership increases in the year to September 2012, while 48 saw declines.

Roy Morgan print readership for 12 months to September.

The biggest increase was seen in the Northern Territory, with News Limited's Northern Territory News increasing 7.5% to 57,000 readers.

Meanwhile, the largest decline was experienced in NSW, with Fairfax's Illawarra Mercury dropping 24.1% to 63,000 readers.

On a national scale, the biggest decline was experienced by Fairfax's weekend edition of The Australian Financial Review, which fell 8.8%. The weekday edition dropped 8.4%.

Meanwhile, News Limited's Weekend Australian increased its readership by 0.6%, but The Australian fell 1.2%.

In NSW, News Limited's Daily Telegraph fell 13.2% in its weekday edition, while the Saturday edition fell 11%. The Sunday Telegraph dropped 10.5%.

Fairfax's Sydney Morning Herald declined14% in its weekday edition and 9.3% on Saturdays, while the Sun-Herald fell 13.2%.

In Victoria, News Limited's Herald Sun fell 14% on weekdays and 11% on Saturdays, while the Sunday Herald Sun dropped 14.9%.

Fairfax's weekday edition of The Age dropped 12.1% and its Saturday title fell 13.3%. The Sunday Age fell 11.6%.

An examination of Roy Morgan's new 'masthead readership' figures, which combined print and online readership, did not produce a story of growth.

Year-on-year comparisons have not yet been available due to the recent introduction of the masthead figures, but the preliminary combined readership numbers for the year to September can be compared with the figures for the year to June.

In this comparison, only one masthead, Fairfax's Australian Financial Review, showed an increase from the June figures to the September figures, jumping from 608,000 to 620,000. All other titles were either flat or went backwards.

Fairfax's The Sydney Morning Herald had the highest combined readership for the period, with 3.2 million readers. The figure has combined the readership for all Sydney Morning Herald print titles as well as the website.

Meanwhile, newspaper inserted magazines did not experience as significant a drop in print readership, but saw decline nonetheless. Seven titles increased in print readership, while 14 declined.

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