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Star-Times Stands Out Strong Fairfax Performance

Sunday Star-Times Stands Out in Strong Fairfax Performance

The latest readership results confirm the strength of the Fairfax NZ publishing group, the largest publisher in the country.

Fairfax’s focus on the flagship Sunday newspaper, The Sunday Star-Times since the re-launch last February, has proved extremely successful with the paper reaching an all time high of 702,000 average issue readers 10yrs+.

The Sunday Star-Times has increased readership by an incredible 60,000 readers compared to the same period in 2002. Nationally readership for All People 15yrs+ has increased by 11.5% year on year. This has come off the back of a high circulation growth to 210,519 in the ABC audit released in September 2003. The paper has performed well nationally and made significant gains in Auckland, up 11.1%, in Hamilton, up 4.5%, in Christchurch up 7.1% and in Dunedin up 30%

Fairfax New Zealand chief executive officer Brian Evans said the readership figures confirms the tremendous growing popularity of Sunday newspapers.

“With the recent appointment of Cate Brett as editor we believe the Sunday Star-Times will increase in popularity even further among readers wanting a quality and informative read at the weekend. The other pleasing aspect is the popularity of the paper across the country. This confirms its position as the country’s leading national newspaper,” Mr Evans said.

Growth of the Sunday Star-Times has had negligible impact on the Sunday News, which is targeted at a different segment of the population. The Sunday News is read by well over half a million (521,000) New Zealanders 10yrs+ in an average week. Combined readership of the Sunday papers has increased to almost one million (996,000) readers on a typical Sunday.

“The combined readership figures for the two Sunday papers should find strong favour with advertisers as it provides them with an outstanding vehicle to reach a very significant percentage of the New Zealand population,” Mr Evans said.

Overall Fairfax newspapers have had a very strong performance in the Northern region. The Auckland Suburban Newspaper Group has increased weekly coverage to 711,000 Aucklanders aged 15yrs+, up 11,000 year on year. “The popularity and impact of the Auckland Suburban Newspaper Group is at times not given the recognition it deserves. If you look at these figures and the size of the increase it clearly demonstrates that they are a very important part of the Greater Auckland newspaper market,” Mr Evans said.

The Waikato Times has also been a solid performer, consistently tracking over the 100,000 reader mark since the Jul01-Jun02 readership report.Based on a typical day Waikato Times is read by 104,000 people 15yrs+ nationally and has a penetration of 48.8% in Hamilton. The change to a Saturday morning edition has also proved successful with Saturday readership up 5,000 year on year. The Waikato Times community newspaper, The Hamilton Press, has shown a significant increase of 6,000 readers. The Dominion Post, winner of the Qantas Newspaper of the Year award has recorded a readership of 261,000 All People 15yrs+. The Dominion Post reaches over a third of All People 15yrs+ living in the central region and 52.5% of Wellingtonians based on a typical day. The Dominion Post, renowned for its affluent reader base, has continued to show extremely strong reach against upper income and business target groups. On a typical day The Dominion Post is read by 78.3% of those with personal incomes $60K+ and 67.5% of those in the top three occupational groupings.

The Christchurch Press average issue readership sits at 222,000 for All People 15yrs+ nationally. Tracking over the past quarter points to circulation gains, which are likely to be reflected in the next readership release. Within Christchurch, The Press is read by 53.9 % of those people aged 15yrs+ on a typical day and weekly coverage of 80% has remained constant. The Press continues to be the highest read daily newspaper in the South Island.

The Fairfax NZ stable of six regional daily newspapers has also shown steady performances. Based on a typical week, 79.5% or 2,432,000 New Zealanders 15yrs+ read a Fairfax NZ Daily, Sunday or Community newspaper.

“The newspaper readership figures along with those just announced for Fairfax Magazines provides us with a very strong foundation for the future. We will continue to look for ways to enhance our offering to ensure we offer readers and advertisers publications of the highest standard,” concluded Mr Evans.

Sources: Nielsen Media Research National Readership Survey Jan-Dec 2003 Nielsen Media Research National Readership Survey Jan-Dec 2002

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