ABCs: Double digit declines for newspapers

TeleMost of Australia’s major metro mastheads have once again posted double digits declines in the last round of print circulation figures.

According to figures released today by the Audit Bureau of Circulation, Fairfax Media’s The Age posted the largest metro year-on-year circulation fall recording a 17 per cent decline on weekdays with the newspaper falling from 157,480 copies to 130,767.

Sister Fairfax newspaper, The Sydney Morning Herald also posted a 16.60 per cent decline with its print circulation numbers hitting 131,737 in the last quarter of 2013.

Amongst the News Corp Australia stable many of its newspapers also posted double digit declines with tabloids The Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun posting weekday declines of 12 per cent and 12.3 per cent respectively. The Telegraph had a weekday circulation of 293,512 last quarter while its Victorian counterpart had 394,597.

Other News Corp weekday newspapers papers posted smaller declines of 10 per cent for the Courier Mail, 9.4 per cent for the Adelaide Advertiser, and 8.5 per cent for Tasmania’s Mercury.

Both major newspapers have today sought to put a positive spin on the continuing declines. Fairfax Media noted how it had removed unprofitable circulation and was seeing an improvement in revenue and yield per copy for their metro mastheads.

“We continue to lead industry change by focusing on profitable circulation, further reducing unprofitable bulk channels and in turn, increasing both our circulation revenue and yield per copy for our metropolitan mastheads,” said Allen Williams, managing director of Fairfax Media’s Australian Publishing Media in an statement. “As a result, our print circulation is more profitable than ever, and that, combined with our fiercely independent journalism and content, ensure that the print editions of our mastheads continue to contribute to the growth and engagement of our audience.”

While News Corp chose to focus on the mass audience reached by its newspapers nationally. “Overall, News Corp Australia sells almost 10 million newspapers a week – affirming our position as the country’s number one media company,” said Julian Clarke, CEO of News Corp Australia. “Our daily metropolitan titles such as The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, The Courier-Mail and The Advertiser, lead their respective states in paid sales. This demonstrates the deep connections our titles have developed with their audiences.”

Seven West Media’s West Australian posted the smallest decline among Australia’s major newspaper publisher of just 5.5 per cent in its weekday circulation.

Among the weekend newspapers both Fairfax and News Corp saw continuing significant falls in the circulations for once lucrative mastheads. In NSW, The Sydney Morning Herald (Sat) and its counterpart the Sun Herald posted 16.3 per cent falls 15.6 per cent respectively. While its rival The Daily Telegraph (Sat) fell 10.6 per cent and the Sunday Telegraph fell 12.4 per cent.

In Victoria, it was a similar story with The Age (Sat) falling 14 per cent and its Sunday sister publication falling 14.10 per cent. While the Herald Sun (Sat) posted an 11.10 per cent fall and Sunday Herald Sun 11.90 per cent. News Corp’s other newspapers such as Queensland faired marginally better with the like Courier Mail posting 9.8 per cent and 9.1 declines in its weekend newspapers.

Among the national newspapers The Australian’s weekday circulation fell 8.3 per cent and 9.2 per cent on weekends. The News Corp broadsheet has a weekday circulation of 112,269 while the weekend edition has 242,158.

Business newspaper The Australian Financial Review fell only 6.4 per cent on weekdays to 62,455 and 9.2 per cent on weekends to 71,733.

Weekday metro titles, from largest percentage fall:

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 6.59.20 PMWeekend metro titles, from largest percentage fall:

WeekendNational newspapers, highest circulation to lowest:NationalNic Christensen



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