Australian newspaper sales decline began two decades ago

Despite claims that newspaper sales in Australia are bucking the international trend and remaining stable, new analysis suggests that compared to the country’s  growing population, sales have dropped significantly.

The examination of data was carried out by the Media Alliance ahead of this week’s Walkley Media Conference.


The organisation combined Audit Bureau of Circulation data with Australian Bureau of Statistics population numbers to develop an approximate measure of metro and national newspaper sales per head of the population over the last two decades.

And although there is margin for error as the methodology on the collection of the circulation data has changed slightly, the trend has been downwards, with sales of nearly 160 newspapers per 1000 population in 1991, falling to less than 110 per 1000.

The population has grown by about a quarter in that time to more than 22m, while newspaper sales have fallen slightly.

Tomorrow sees the latest set of ABC newspaper circulation data released. The last set saw declines virtually across the board.



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