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Print readership continues decline as digital audiences rise

The number of Australians reading printed newspapers has dropped by 6 per cent in the year to September 2014, according to the latest Print Readership and Cross-Platform Audience results for Australian Newspapers released today by Roy Morgan Research.

The 6 per cent decrease saw 9,419,00 Australians reached by newspapers in the 12 months to September, with weekend print readership found to be the most affected by the decline.

Saturday and Sunday newspapers both saw a decline in print readership, with a 7.8 per cent and 8.4 drop respectively. An overall average decline of 467,000 readers was recorded for each day.

The Australian saw a loss of 8 per cent of its weekday print readership and a loss of 15.3 per cent of its weekend print readership. The Financial Review dropped 14.2 per cent on weekdays and 2.7 per cent on weekends, and the Sydney Morning Herald dropped 5.5 per cent on weekdays and 4.3 per cent on Saturday, with its Sun-Herald readership dropping by 10 per cent.

The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, and Adelaide Advertiser suffered double-digit losses across their overall readership.

Only The Age managed to not record a decrease, with a 4.8 per cent rise in its weekday print readership, steady numbers for Saturday and a 6.7 per cent rise on Sundays.

“Audiences continue to migrate from the traditional print format to the myriad online platforms for consuming their major daily newspaper content,” said Tim Martin, General Manager – Media, Roy Morgan Research.

“Between 42 per cent and 80 per cent of each major daily newspaper’s audience is now using a digital device.”

A clear sign of the times, the digital arena continues to attract stronger audiences. While newspapers are clearly seeing a drop in their print sector, their digital issues are seeing stronger followings.

The Sydney Morning Herald saw a 9.7 per increase overall thanks to its cross-platform readership, which has risen to an average of 444,000 digital followers. The Adelaide Advertiser saw its digital audience rise to 491,000, a 26.5 per cent rise in the year in lead to September, while Courier-Mail’s digital audience grew by 3.4 per cent.

“As more online news sources such as The Daily Mail and Buzzfeed tailor their content for local audiences Australians are faced with an ever-increasing smorgasbord of news consumption choices,” said Mr Martin.

“This will inevitably lead to winners and losers in the highly competitive Australian market aiming to attract news seeking audiences.”

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Guillermo Troncoso

Guillermo Troncoso

Guillermo is the Editor of Dynamic Business and Manager of film &amp; television entertainment site ScreenRealm.com. Follow him on <a href="https://twitter.com/gtponders">Twitter</a>.

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