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Readership Trends Favour Newspapers

Readership Trends Favour Newspapers In Competitive Media Market

Newspapers are performing well in an extremely buoyant media market and survey results indicate that newspapers remain a powerful medium for achieving high-level reach and frequency.

Fairfax New Zealand chief executive officer, Brian Evans, said the just-released Nielsen Media survey readership figures for July 2002 to June 2003 show that Fairfax New Zealand’s papers are retaining their market position, with steady overall performance.

“Over the past two years, our newspapers have changed to reflect the market and readers have clearly responded well to this”, Mr Evans said.

Nationally, both The Sunday Star-Times and Sunday News have held penetration levels. However, Mr Evans said “while the 12 month readership figure for The Sunday Star-Times is steady, a break down of the six month discrete figures shows a growth of 41,000 readers in the first six months of 2003 compared to the same period in 2002. The new-look Sunday Star-Times was relaunched in this period and is clearly driving this growth. We are also confident that circulation will grow at the next audit in September”.

The longer-term trends in Sunday newspaper readership are also positive. In the two-year period from June 2001 to June 2003, The Sunday Star-Times readership has lifted from 571,000 to 617,000 (+8%) for people aged 15+ years. The Sunday News has also gained over that period, moving from 449,000 to 496,000 (+10.5%).

“These two publications comprise the national Sunday market and the growth trends show that New Zealanders are fast becoming accustomed to the Sunday newspaper read, following an international trend that has been in place for some years,” Mr Evans said.

“In Wellington, previous increases in readership have consolidated. Readers have continued the loyalty they initially displayed when The Dominion and The Evening Post merged. The 273,000 (9% national penetration) readership for The Dominion Post is real vindication for the reasoning behind the merger and we are delighted with this result”.

“Again, this reflects the positive trends we have experienced over the past couple of years, when comparing this to the Capital Buy (unduplicated readership of both newspapers) of 266,000 in the 12 months ending June 2001”.

“While The Waikato Times has remained static year-on-year to June 2003 for people 15+ years, holding 7% penetration in the Northern region and 49% within the Hamilton urban area, there have been considerable gains when looked at in the wider context. This newspaper has gone from just 89,000 in the 12 months ending June 2001, to 102,000 (+15%) to June 2003. This has been achieved in a competitive market”.

“The Waikato Times readers have shown strong support for the new Saturday morning edition introduced in the last few weeks and we expect this to grow further as readers become more accustomed to having a local morning edition for the weekend’s reading,” Mr Evans said.

In Christchurch, readership for The Press has remained steady at 229,000 to June 2003, maintaining 8% national penetration. Penetration into the Christchurch Urban area is 56%.

“As we continue to anticipate and respond to reader requirements, we expect further growth in our stable of papers nationally,” Mr Evans said.


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