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INL Newspapers Show Strong Performance in Survey

INL Newspapers Show Strong Performance in Readership Survey

Independent Newspapers Limited’s stable of metropolitan, regional, Sunday and community newspapers has shown strong growth in the latest national readership survey.

The figures released today by research company Nielsen Media Research show that more New Zealanders are reading newspapers – and that growth has benefited INL’s titles in the period January – December 2002.

INL Chief Executive Peter Wylie said the results indicated that in a fragmented media market, more and more people were turning to newspapers as a familiar and trusted source of information about the world around them.

“People are deluged with choice, and perhaps exhausted by it. What these latest readership figures show, however, is that our newspapers are increasing their presence in key markets. Advertisers will take a close look at the latest figures and realise that if they want to reach the hearts and minds of New Zealanders aged 15yrs+, newspapers are a vital medium.”

Mr Wylie said one of the most satisfying results was the clear evidence that The Dominion Post has gained a strong readership, based on net unduplicated readership for the new paper and its two legacy titles.

“In the 15yrs+ category, The Dominion Post has 272,000 readers nationally, and 57% penetration in Wellington. This is ahead of the net unduplicated figure of 267,000 people for the two former titles in the same period in 2001 – and well ahead of our readership expectations for the new paper.

“It demonstrates the wisdom behind merging the best of Wellington’s newspapers into one. We are delighted that we have retained the loyalty of readers and that they have embraced The Dominion Post.”

The readership figures come on top of the last Audit Bureau of Circulations figures in November, which revealed average daily sales of more than 101,000 for the new paper – at least 6000 more than the company had expected of The Dominion Post in its first months.

The results for INL’s two Sunday papers – Sunday News and the Sunday Star Times – show these two titles’ command of national readership on New Zealand’s main leisure day.

“The Sunday News has 511,000 readers 15yrs+, up one per cent on the previous period, with market penetration of 17 per cent. The Sunday Star Times is steady at 600,000 readers, and 20% penetration.

“INL owns the Sundays market, but that is no reason for complacency. Our re-launch of the Sunday Star Times is aimed at winning even more readers. Our research has shown that New Zealanders do not have the Sunday newspaper habit. In the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia, lingering over the Sunday paper is a way of life.

“There is a clearly a big opportunity to attract more Sunday readers by giving them more of what they want and putting some promotional muscle behind our two national weekly titles,” said Mr Wylie.

Other movements in the survey results included a significant jump by the Waikato Times which now has 105,000 15yrs+ readers nationally on a typical day, compared with 97,000 in the period January-December 2001. The paper’s penetration has gone up from 47 per cent to 50 per cent.

Similarly, The Press has surged ahead with a six per cent lift in readers 15yrs+, from 226,000 in the previous period to 239,000 nationally in January-December 2002. Within Christchurch, the paper’s penetration is up from 55% to 59%.

Among INL’s regional daily newspapers, readership is largely stable.

INL’s stable of urban and rural community papers also mirrored the overall readership increase trend.

In the key market of Auckland, INL’s Suburban Newspapers – which publishes 1.2 million newspapers weekly over 10 titles – commands a readership of 700,000 15yrs+ people. That equates to market penetration of 80 per cent.

“The combined circulation clout of INL’s suburban papers in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch is a proven vehicle for reaching people who might not necessarily subscribe to daily newspapers. The latest readership figures provide further confirmation of the power of these titles,” said Mr Wylie.

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