Newspapers in the capital city markets continue their dominance over the adult television audience and among the company’s Sunday newspapers, the Sunday Herald Sun in the competitive Victorian market and The Sunday Mail in Brisbane continue to attract record readership, in line with their record circulation figures.
However News Limited remains concerned at the discrepancies between key circulation data and readership in other markets, particularly NSW, where the survey sample was reduced a year ago. News Limited has asked Roy Morgan Research to urgently evaluate and change its methodology in consultation with the publishing industry.
Ray Atkinson, News Limited advertising director, says readership of News Limited’s NSW and national newspapers has risen over the past three months, coinciding with a correction in the sample size in NSW since June 2004.
“However we still have to ride out the results induced by the bad sample from November 2003 to May 2004 and we will not see any year on year improvement in our NSW publication results until March 2005 at the earliest,” says Atkinson.
“This does not reflect the true position, it is totally unacceptable for our clients and Roy Morgan should have made the market aware of it.”
Atkinson says News Limited newspapers continue to deliver editorial and advertising that attracts a growing audience with high spending power.
“The figures show that these readers are enjoying our publications every day of week, it is not confined to any particular day or section. It shows in the success of our brands like CARSguide, CareerOne, home magazine, the Sunday Magazine, Escape and our other travel sections which are going from strength to strength,” says Atkinson.
He says that while year on year, figures show readership of The Sunday Telegraph and The Daily Telegraph has fallen, The Sunday Telegraph has increased 1.1 per cent since June 2004 and The Daily Telegraph’s readership has increased by three per cent Monday to Friday and by 2.7 per cent on a Saturday over the same period.
“This is much more in line with the circulation of both newspapers,” says Atkinson.
The Australian and The Weekend Australian recorded readership growth of 1.2 per cent and 0.9 per cent over the three months to September 2004, which Atkinson believes is a better reflection of their circulation growth than the reported drop in readership of 24,000 for The Australian and 13,000 for The Weekend Australian over the 12 months.
The Australian increased its circulation by 2.3 per cent and The Weekend Australian by 1.2 per cent over the 12 month period.
Readership of the Sunday Herald Sun increased by 42,000 new readers over the 12 months, or 2.7 per cent, to 1,590,000. The Herald Sun Monday to Friday grew its readership by 44,000, or 2.9 per cent, to 1,547,000 and on a Saturday by 1.2 per cent to 1,441,000, over the same period. The Herald Sun’s results were also in line with its circulation increases.
The Sunday Mail in Brisbane now has 1,492,000 readers, an increase of 2,000, or 0.1 per cent, over the same period.
donna hay magazine now attracts more readers than Gourmet Traveller. After a period of massive growth since its launch, the readership of donna hay magazine remained relatively stable over the 12 months at 318,000 readers (down 1,000 from 319,000). The readership of Gourmet Traveller dropped to 303,000.
INSIDEout magazine, which moved to bi-monthly with its September/October issue, has grown its readership by 13,000, or 9.7 per cent, to 147,000, over the same period last year. Both these magazines are published by News Magazines, the magazine arm of News Limited.
The Roy Morgan figures also show that the adult readership of metropolitan newspapers across the five main capital cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth is 7,559,000 over the 12 months. The average adult peak time viewing reach of free to air television in those cities (between 6pm and 12.00am) over the same period is 6,476,000, according to ATR/OzTAM.