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Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun score increased Readership across the whole week

Roy Morgan Research Print Readership and Cross-Platform Audience results for Australian Newspapers for the 12 months to September 2016.

Roy Morgan Research today releases the latest Print Readership and Cross-Platform Audience results for Australian Newspapers for the 12 months to September 2016.

8.3 million Australians aged 14+ (42%) read print newspapers in an average week in the 12 months to September 2016, down 3.3% year-on-year. However, most mastheads continued to benefit from further growth in digital readership.

The overall appetite for print news has held stronger on weekends than weekdays: Saturday print editions reach a combined 5,001,000 readers on average (down 1.9%), and 4,531,000 read on Sundays (down 3.5%). During the week Monday to Friday, 5,889,000 Australians read at least one print newspaper, on one or more days (down 3.7%). 

The total cross-platform audiences for 80% of mastheads were up or steady overall compared with their previous cross-platform results in June 2016.

Print Readership

News Corp

Coinciding with the appointment of new editor Chris Dore in mid-December last year, News Corp’s Daily Telegraph is the big winner, with an increase in readers for all weekday and weekend editions. The average Monday to Friday print issue over the past 12 months reached 640,000 readers (up 3.4% year-on-year), with 628,000 on average reading the Saturday edition (up 5.5%), and 1,008,000 the Sunday Telegraph (up 1.3%).  

In Victoria, stablemate the Herald Sun also scored a rare hat-trick, albeit with smaller gains right across the week: 858,000 now read the average Monday to Friday issue in print (up 0.2%), 825,000 read on Saturdays (up 1.2%), and 873,000 on Sundays (up 0.3%).

Results for the other Murdoch-owned capital city tabloids were mixed: the Northern Territory News gained readers right across the week (up 3.0% Monday to Friday, 2.4% on Saturday and 13.3% for Sunday’s Territorian); the Adelaide Advertiser grew 2.2% on the average weekday, declined slightly on Saturday (down 1.3%) while the Sunday Mail held steady (down just 0.2%); Queensland’s Courier-Mail and Tasmania’s Mercury have each lost print readers across the whole week.

Three of News Corp’s regional titles continued to perform among the best overall. The Newcastle Herald, Geelong Advertiser, Gold Coast Bulletin all gained readers across the week, although its Townsville Bulletin and Cairns Post suffered the opposite trend.  

News Corp’s flagship national title lost readers throughout the week: 319,000 Australians read The Australian in print on an average weekday (down 3.3%), while 638,000 read the Weekend Australian (down 7.0%).


It was a mixed bag over at Fairfax. The Sydney Morning Herald lost print readers for its issues on Monday to Friday (down 8.2% to 482,000), Saturday (down 3.8% to 704,000), and Sunday (down 5.6% to 629,000). The average weekday edition of The Age also reached fewer readers (down 6.7% to 477,000), but won them back on Saturday (up 5.0% to 645,000) and Sunday (up 2.0% to 508,000).

As with News Corp’s national offering, appetite for Fairfax’s Financial Review also fell: the average Monday to Friday issue now has 193,000 readers (down 5.9%), while the weekend reaches 126,000 (down 15.4%).

Seven West Media

Seven West Media’s West Australian declined 15.2% to 379,000 readers per average weekday issue, with its Weekend West also down 9.4% to 521,000. Recently purchased from News Corp and approved by the ACCC, the Sunday Times also followed the downward trend in appetite for print news in WA (down 8.0% to 392,000).

Schwartz Media

Semi-national title The Saturday Paper was read by 115,000 eastern mainland residents per average issue in the 12 months to September 2016. Thanks in part to an expanded footprint, readership has grown 16.2% compared with a year ago.

View the full Newspaper Average Print Issue Readership Results

Newspaper Inserted Magazines

4,714,000 Australians read Newspaper Inserted Magazines (down 7.6% compared with the previous 12 months to September 2015), with six titles among the winners.   

Distributed with the Saturday newspapers across NSW and Victoria, the country’s most-read inserted magazine got even bigger: total readership of the Good Weekend grew 2.2% to 1,275,000.

Despite the newspaper itself reaching fewer weekend readers, its inserted Weekend Australian Magazine grew 1.0% to 700,000 readers on average—more than the paper it comes in. 

The huge year-on-year gain for Smart Investor (up 40.6% to 135,000) still partly reflects its successful move from newsstands to inclusion in the Financial Review in early 2015. Wish in The Australian also grew (up 13.6% to 92,000).

View the full Newspaper Inserted Magazine Readership Results

Cross-Platform Audiences

The Sydney Morning Herald remains Australia’s most-read masthead cross-platform, reaching a combined audience of 4,187,000 in an average week, including a net 1,152,000 print readers and 3,609,000 digital readers.

The inclusion of digital audiences more than doubles the reach of the Daily Telegraph from 1,519,000 print readers to 3,127,000 cross-platform across a full week. The Herald Sun almost doubles its reach through digital platforms to 2,985,000 readers overall, ahead of Victorian rival The Age with 2,861,000.  

Nine of the 15 newspapers measured across both print and digital gained cross-platform audiences compared with the previous results in June 2016: The Australian, the Canberra Times, Courier-Mail, Daily Telegraph, Financial Review, Herald Sun, The Saturday Paper, Sunday Times, and the most-read Sydney Morning Herald.

A further three maintained their total cross-platform readership thanks to digital growth: the Mercury, Newcastle Herald, and Weekly Times.

The remaining three mastheads which decreased compared the June 2016 results (the West Australian, Adelaide Advertiser, and The Age) all suffered decreases in their digital audience. 

View the full Cross-Platform Audiences Results

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“News Corp’s metro dailies in Sydney and Melbourne have both managed an extraordinary feat: increasing their print readership for average issues on weekdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

“Perhaps the long-term decline of print readership is finally starting to ‘bottom out’. These two News Corp mastheads had been slower than their counterparts at Fairfax to transition audiences to digital—which may turn out to be a benefit if print readership can be now stabilised.  

“However even as (and if) print readership continues to decline at other mastheads, the vast majority are clearly still able to increase their overall audiences through digital growth.” 

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%