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Herald Driving Growth In Newspaper Readership

HERALD DRIVING GROWTH IN NEWSPAPER READERSHIP.

Readership of metropolitan daily newspapers in New Zealand has increased by 28,000 this year, with 22,000 of those new readers choosing the New Zealand Herald according to the latest National Readership Survey from ACNielsen.

Every day over 552,000 New Zealanders aged fifteen and over read the New Zealand Herald, an increase of 22,000 readers in just twelve months.

"This excellent result is due to a combination of the editorial strength of the New Zealand Herald backed by effective, forceful marketing" said the Herald's Editor-in-chief Gavin Ellis.

"The paper represents much more than a digest of the news of the day. Across six days we are able to satisfy a tremendous diversity of our readers' needs, in news, sport and entertainment.

"This result is the fruit of a lot of hard work at the New Zealand Herald and we are only part way on the path to delivering an even better newspaper with quality that is comparable to newspapers anywhere in the world."

General Manager Sales and Marketing for the New Zealand Herald Pip Elliott said: "This result is great news and can be attributed to a multitude of activities across all aspects of our business, including brand, editorial, service initiatives and a company wide commitment to building a deeper understanding of our readers and advertisers."

The New Zealand Herald launched a brand reinforcement campaign in 2001 highlighting the depth and breadth of the newspaper, built on industry-leading editorial and supported by improvements in logistics, resulting in numerous service improvements, not the least of which was achieving consistent delivery times of the New Zealand Herald throughout its circulation area.

Ms Elliott sees the figures as the first result of a long-term plan for sustained growth.

"Some of the increase in readership may be mistakenly ascribed to the tragic events of September 11th, however we started to see this growth from April and the fact that our growth outstrips the industry so significantly reflects the success of our planning and initiatives."

Highlights of the ACNielsen results include steady gains made in the Herald's core circulation area, with an increase of 21,000 readers in the Northern region (to 538,000), and an increase in Auckland, where the population over the last 12 months grew by 1.4% or 12,000 people, while the Herald readership grew at a greater rate, with an additional 20,000 readers (372,000*) now regularly turning to the Herald.

Weekly readership levels have also increased with 947,000 people nationally turning to the Herald at least once during the week, and 586,000 of those being in Auckland.

The New Zealand Herald has seen reader growth every day with Wednesday and Thursday delivering the strongest performance.

The Weekend Herald has enjoyed continued growth, as Pip Elliott said: "With an additional 48,000 readers the Weekend Herald now reaches 638,000 people 15+, and within our circulation area (Taupo North) twice as many people will turn to the Weekend Herald than any other single weekend newspaper."

Ms Elliott also believes the results are good news for advertisers.

"Of particular interest to key advertiser groups will be the Herald's continued growth over recent years in readership levels for higher income households, and top occupational groups and its 2% increase in penetration into New Zealand's largest city - the Auckland metropolitan market."

The Herald remained steady in the female readership groups while enjoying widespread growth with young males 20 ? 39 (+20,000), all top occupation groups and top personal income groups.

Recent research also by ACNielsen, through ACNielsen NetWatch shows that www.nzherald.co.nz is a complementary service supporting readership growth for the newspaper. The research showed that of the site's NZ users 87% identified themselves as readers of the New Zealand Herald.

Gavin Ellis believes this shows the worth of the two services.

"The New Zealand Herald and www.nzherald.co.nz are complementary, both are driven from our newsroom and each enriches the other, as these two pieces of research show." Gavin Ellis summed up the National Readership Survey from ACNielsen by saying: "If we look at the population over the age of ten, our readership across the week is just short of the million mark (995,000). In short it's great news because more Kiwi's are reading and enjoying our newspaper than before.

"We've seen the re-emergence of print which carries more detail with greater retention than any other media and that means we have a more literate and informed population -- which is good for the whole country."

For Further Information, Please Contact:

Pip Elliott Phone: 379-5050 ext 6432 Mobile: 021-444-506 Email: pip_elliott@nzherald.co.nz

*


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