Hold the front page! Australians are still reading newspapers and magazines

Hold the front page! Australians are still reading newspapers and magazines
August 18, 2017 Melissa Borg

We have all heard the declarations in recent years – that newspapers are dead and digital reigns.  However, they are fighting back.  According to the latest annual readership report by Roy Morgan Research, it’s not all doom and gloom, because magazine and newspaper readership has actually remained steady across the past 12 months.

The annual Roy Morgan readership report actually looks at who is reading newspapers and magazines – and we are, in print or on digital platforms.  For the 12 months to June 2017, 65% of Australians were reading newspapers each week, whether this be via print, online or via app – ‘cross-platform’ – while two thirds of Australians are still reading print magazines.

There is certainly a decline in print newspaper readership, as Australians embrace digital platforms to consume their news. The power is in digital for the traditional mastheads, and those audiences have increased across the board. The top 5 spots went to The Canberra Times, Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, The Australian and Sydney Morning Herald, in that order, in both print and cross-platform readership across the year.

Although Australia’s move to digital has impacted print editions of Australia’s leading Monday to Friday newspapers, the performance of Australia’s leading weekend newspapers is splitting on familiar geographic lines – decreasing in New South Wales and increasing in Victoria. The beloved Sunday Telegraph (NSW) and Sunday Herald Sun (VIC) took out the top spots in those markets.

What all this shift to digital indicates is that Australians still trust traditional outlets as their go-to for news and content. The key is how they access the content, and that is changing.

When it came to magazine readership, Australians are bucking the trend, with 63% indicating that they still read magazines (0.1% decline from 2016). This was led by the Food and Entertainment category, which has seen the most growth (a 5.6% increase) – attributable to stalwarts Coles Magazines and Woolworths’ Fresh. General Interest magazines – National Geographic and Australian Geographic – were the second most-read category, while Mass Women’s is a category in decline and took out third place. Taste.com.au had a big rise in readership, and while their numbers are down, Women’s Weekly and Better Homes & Gardens still lead their categories. And, who knew that motoring club magazines would be on the rise?  Royal Auto (VIC) and Road Ahead (QLD) both surged at least 8% in readership in the past year.  Am I missing something?

All the numbers and lists from Roy Morgan are available here, while a nice round up on newspapers and magazines have also been published.