Magazine print readership climbs but cross-platform numbers decline, new data shows

Magazine readership is continuing to rise with more than 11 million Australians now reading print titles, up 2.2% on the previous year, according to new data.

Of 15 categories measured in the Roy Morgan research, ten showed readership growth, with five declining.

Are Media’s Better Homes & Gardens remained Australia’s most widely read paid magazine with print readership up 8% to 1.6 million, ahead of the stable mate Australian Women’s Weekly with a readership close to 1.4m, up 11%.

In total, 11.2 million Australians aged 14 and over read print magazine in the 12 months to September 2021.

But the combined print and digital readership of 15.2 million was down 3.3%.

The data continues a strong performance for print titles. In August, Roy Morgan said Australians were reading magazines during lockdown despite Are Media’s 2020 financials showing a decline in advertising revenue.

They are also turning to magazines in a post-lockdown world, the research firm said.

“The strong performance for print magazines came following the nation-wide lockdown early in 2020 and shows that once freed from stay-at-home restrictions Australians were keen to return to the magazines they know and love,” Roy Morgan chief executive Michele Levine said.

The survey of 64,972 Australians aged over 14 found print readership increased in the top four magazine categories: food and entertainment climbed almost 13% to 7.2 million, general interest was up 9% to over 4.1 million, home and garden increased 12% to 3.8 million and mass women’s magazines climbed more than 4% to 3 million.

All 25 of Australia’s most widely read magazines saw a growth in print readership.

Other notable performances saw National Geographic increase its readership by 9% to of 965,000 – making it Australia’s third most widely read paid magazine – ahead of Are Media’s Woman’s Day with a readership of 771,000, up 6.6%.

Australia’s two most widely read free magazines were Coles Magazine with a readership of 5.1 million, an increase of almost 14%, while Fresh Ideas drew 4.6 million readers, up 16%.

The largest increase came at House & Garden which grew its readership by more than 50% to per cent to 644,000. It was the sixth most widely read paid magazine.

Other magazines that performed well included Magazine ( up 22.5% to 708,000), Take 5 Bumper Monthly (up 24% to 601,000) and That’s Life Mega Monthly (up 32% to 559,000).

Sports magazines had a strong year, with the category more than doubling readership to 460,000. The growth was led by golfing titles Golf Australia, up 149% to 157,000 readers and Australian Golf Digest up 137% 147,000.

Levine said: “After the lockdowns of 2020 ended Australians emerged with cash to spend and part of that boost in spending went to print magazines which is reflected in these figures released today.

“There is the chance for the same boost to spending on print magazines to happen now and during 2022 as ‘cashed-up’ Australians freed from lockdowns look for compelling and engaging content.”

She added: “Today’s results show that when magazine publishers offer compelling content there is a large market of 15 million consumers who are there to ready to engage and respond.

“Magazines have the ability to communicate complex messaging and with the massive reach of many magazines they can deliver large audiences for advertisers.”


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