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New Zealand Herald builds on circulation growth

The New Zealand Herald builds on circulation growth

AUCKLAND, November 13, 2002 - The New Zealand Herald has recorded its strongest second-half circulation figures for four years, according to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulation survey, released today.

The ABC figures show that the Herald’s average net circulation for the six months to September 30 was 211,246, the highest September result since the 1999 survey, and up from the 210,841 result for the six months to March. The result was marginally ahead of the 211,117 recorded in September 2001. The Herald was the only New Zealand daily metropolitan newspaper to increase circulation this year.

In the latest survey period, the Herald grew its share of total metropolitan newspaper circulation from 45% to 47%, and has more than twice the circulation of any other daily newspaper in New Zealand.

Herald Editor-in-Chief Gavin Ellis said that since the events of September 11 2001, New Zealanders have increasingly turned to the Herald for news and analysis of major international and domestic events.

"The Herald has reinforced its position as a newspaper that makes a difference. The exposure of Maori Television chief executive John Davy, the leaky building crisis and the Ross Armstrong controversy were all examples of journalism as a service to readers that had far-reaching effect. And readers have responded," he said.

The circulation results follow strong readership numbers recorded by the Herald earlier in 2002, where an independently audited survey showed that on a typical day in the period July 2001 to June 2002, 569,000 people aged 15 and over read The New Zealand Herald, an increase of 17,000 since the previous readership survey.

The Audit Bureau of Circulation surveys newspaper sales across the country in March and September. The March survey is traditionally higher, reflecting strong readership across the Spring and Summer months. However, for the last two years, the Herald has bucked the trend and produced circulation gains in the September survey, building on already strong March results.

The September survey was the first to record the circulation result for the merged Dominion-Post newspaper in Wellington, which is published by INL. The new masthead had an average net circulation of 101,511. This represents a 19% fall in the combined circulations of the Dominion and the Evening Post from the September 2001 total of 124,714.

Mr Ellis said it was disappointing for the newspaper industry as a whole to see the closure of the Evening Post. However, The New Zealand Herald was now selling more newspapers into the Wellington market.

In the business category, the ABC survey showed a circulation fall over the same period last year for the National Business Review (from 14,374 to 13,692) and The Independent (from 9008 to 8934). Mr Ellis said that the strong circulation of the daily Herald combined with increased readership meant that the Business Herald section now had more than twice the business readers of any other publication currently reported by Nielsen Media Research in New Zealand.

The weekend newspaper category continued to show some resilience, led by The Weekend Herald, which last week produced a 270-page edition, the largest in the 140-year history of the paper. The Sunday Star Times grew its circulation from 200,045 to 205,916, while the Sunday News circulation fell from 115,419 to 113,422.

Mr Ellis said that twice as many Aucklanders aged 15 and over read the Weekend Herald than any other weekend publication.

"These circulation numbers reflect our ongoing work to create meaningful newspaper sections for our readers. It also shows the Herald’s emerging role as a national newspaper," he said.

The New Zealand Herald is published by APN News & Media Ltd.

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