ABCs: Half yearly circulation audit sees many newspapers suffer 10% declines while Sunday Telegraph falls below 400,000

News Corp’s The Sunday Telegraph’s circulation fell below 400,000 for the first time, according to the inaugural half yearly figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulation.

The data is the first time that the AMAA has consolidated six months worth of circulation numbers for newspapers, rather than the previous quarterly release. The percentage changes calculated by Mumbrella represent the changes from the quarterly numbers a year ago to the new six month numbers.

Compared to the same period last year the Sydney paper’s circulation fell 8.4% from 410,137 to 378,449. However the Sunday Telegraph’s fall was far from the greatest as other publications saw declines of over 10%.


The majority of weekend newspapers suffered declines with Sunday newspapers hard hit as Melbourne’s Sunday Herald Sun fell below the 350,000 mark to a circulation of 349,252, a 10.2% decrease from the same period last year.

Queensland’s Sunday Mail slipped below 300,000 for the first time, reporting a circulation of 289,888, down 10%.

Fairfax’s The Sun-Herald fell from 188,806 in the correspond period, to 164,652, and Sunday Age’s figures saw an 11.7% decline in dropping under 120,000 for the first time, sitting at 115,056 .

Western Australia’s Sunday Times showed the smallest decline, down 0.36% year on year to 183,828.

The data is the first time the AMAA has consolidated six months worth of circulation numbers for newspapers, rather than the previous quarterly release. The percentage changes calculated by Mumbrella represent the changes from the quarterly numbers a year ago to the new six month numbers.

Saturday’s newspapers also witnessed declines, with Herald Sun’s circulation just above 300,000 – at 306,371 compared to a circulation of 335,232 in the corresponding period, down 9.3%.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s Saturday edition fell 11% from 186,918 in the March to June 2016 period, to 168,470.

While Daily Telegraph maintained second place on the among the Saturday editions, it reported a circulation of 221,996, down from 233,546, at the same time last year.

According to the latest results, Australia’s national newspapers continued to slip, with Fairfax’s The Australian Financial Review falling below 45,000 for the first time. The business newspaper saw an 11.8% drop, from 49,900 this time last year to 44,635.

News Corp’s The Australian slipped slightly, reporting a circulation of 94,448 compared to 99,027 at the same time the previous year.

While at the end of last year, the weekend nationals saw growth, they fell year on year.

The Weekend Australian fell below 220,000, with January to June figures reporting a circulation of 219,242.

Fairfax’s weekend edition of the Australian Financial Review dropped below 50,000 for the first time, marking an 8.9% decline from the previous year.

Amongst the metro newspapers, the biggest decline came from News Corp’s Northern Territory News, down 14.1% year on year to 11,279.

The Canberra Times also saw a major drop, down 12.7% to 15,298 for the January to June results.

Herald Sun remained the top selling Monday to Friday publication, however its circulation was down to 303,140, a 9.1% loss from last year’s 330,766.

News Corp’s Daily Telegraph fell below 230,000 for the first time – to 221,641 and Fairfax’s Sydney Morning Herald fell below 90,000, to 88,634 – an 11.1% decline. Circulation figures from the corresponding period was 239,018 and 98,472 respectively.

It was a more positive result across digital subscriptions, with The Australian climbing to 85,349 subscribers and The Herald Sun also reporting growth, up to 77,213 subscribers.

Fairfax Media’s figures are no longer audited, however unaudited figures of paying digital subscribers revealed 21% year on year growth, with 236,000 subscribers across the three papers (Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and The Australian Financial Review.)


A spokesperson for Fairfax Media told Mumbrella paid circulation metrics weren’t “alone reflective” of the metro publishing business or the effectiveness of connections between audiences and advertisers.

“Fairfax is achieving digital subscriber growth, growing revenue, and doing so profitably, by various means that are not reflected in the traditional metrics,” the spokesperson said.

“We look at total masthead readership – capturing both print and digital via EMMA metrics – which for May 2017 show The Sydney Morning Herald is Australia’s number one masthead reaching 5.1 million; The Age has strength in Victoria with an audience of 3 million; and Australia’s premier financial title The Australian Financial Review reaches around 2 million.

“Fairfax’s quality journalism and content drives our extensive print and digital network, reaching around 13 million Australians a month,” the spokesperson added.

“Print circulation changes are the expected outcome of our focus on profitable publishing and consumers’ continuing take-up of digital.”

Mumbrella has approached News Corp for comment.



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