ABCs: Weekend nationals grow circulation as metro weekly newspapers continue to decline

The weekend national papers saw their circulations bounce in three months ending in December 2016 compared with the July to September period directly before.

According to the latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulation, Fairfax Media’s Australian Financial Review weekend edition reported a circulation of 56,141 up 12.50% on the period directly before, while Weekend Australian grew by 0.4% to 221,930.


While there was growth, looking at the year-on-year figures both newspapers were down with the AFR weekend edition down 4.10%, year-on-year, and the Weekend Australian down 1.20%.

During the week the newspapers also saw decline with the AFR’s Monday to Friday circulation dipping by 8.3% from 51,425 in the final three months of 2015 to 47,179 in the final months of 2016.

News Corp’s The Australian saw its weekday circulation slide by 5.4% from 102,068 at the end of 2015 to 96,602 at the end of 2016.

The Australian also audits its digital subscriptions with those up 11.8%, year-on-year, from 75,018 at the end of 2015 to 83,833 at the end of 2016.

The Weekend Australian’s digital subscribers were up 11.7% from 75,018 in 2015 to 83,813 at the end of 2016.

The Herald Sun also reported growth in digital, with sales up 13.5% from 66,866 to 75,865.

The West Australian reported growth of 83.7%, year-on-year, up from 9,536 to 17,517.

Fairfax Media no longer reports digital subscriber figures.

Amongst the metro newspapers, the West Australian reported the biggest drop in circulation, with its Monday to Friday sales dropping by 16.7% from 149,486 at the end of 2015 to 124,472 at the end of 2016.

The Canberra Times posted a decline of 13.8% with sales slipping from 18,837 to 16,246 while Fairfax Media’s The Sydney Morning Herald saw its circulation dip by 10.3% from 104,155 to 93,403.

The SMH’s rival News Corp-owned The Daily Telegraph remained above the 200,000 mark despite a year-on-year decline of 9.2%, with sales dropping from 255,448 in the final three months of 2015 to 232,067 at the end of last year.

The Herald Sun remains the highest selling Monday to Friday metro paper with a circulation of 316,499, down from 338,998 – that’s a drop of 6.6%.

The Courier Mail saw its circulation drop by 6.40% from 149,408 to 139,791 while the Advertiser was down by 7.6% from 126,856 to 117,273.

Fairfax’s The Age reported a circulation of 88,085, down 9.7% from 97,503 while The Mercury was down 8.6% from 31,578 to 28,865.


The Northern Territory News had a circulation decline of 7.3% from 13,728 to 12,720.

Amongst the Saturday papers, The Sydney Morning Herald saw its circulation slide by 8.5% from 194,207 to 177,722 while The Daily Telegraph’s Saturday circulation dropped by  8.9% from 257,943 to 235,091.

The Herald Sun’s Saturday edition posted a circulation of 322,360 down 7.1% from 347,175.

Moving onto the Sunday papers, The Sunday Telegraph remains the highest selling paper with a circulation of 406,326, down 10.2% from 452,377.

The Sun-Herald’s circulation dropped by 12.5% from 200,851 to 175,652 while The Sunday Age was down 9.4$ from 136,043 to 123,229.

The Sunday Herald Sun reported a circulation of 368,912, down 7% from 396,674.


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