Roy Morgan: Digital viewing of media benefits from COVID, SMH named #1 masthead

Roy Morgan’s latest cross platform audience results shows growth in readership for newspapers and magazines in Australia on digital platforms.

Looking at the nine months to September, 9.4 million (92%) Australians aged 14+ read or accessed newspapers or newspaper content in some way, up 4% on the six months to June (18.5 million – 88%).

4 Week Newspaper Cross-Platform Audience [Click To Enlarge]

The SMH held a cross-platform audience of over 8.3 million, equal to nearly 40% of Australia’s population, while Melbourne stablemate The Age had a cross-platform audience of over 5.9 million Australians.

Other mastheads to experience consecutive quarters of growth were national broadsheet The Australian, and the Perth-headquartered West Australian and Sunday Times.

Roy Morgan’s cross platform audience results also found that Are Media’s ‘Now to Love’ online magazine destination is read by over 2.5 million Australians.

Are Media also has Australia’s two most widely read paid magazines – Better Homes & Gardens and The Australian Women’s Weekly. Meanwhile Australia’s two most widely read free magazines are Coles magazine and Fresh, with Bunnings magazine coming in third.

Food and entertainment was the most read magazine category by average print issue readership.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine, said the pandemic has seen significant growth for Australia’s leading newspaper mastheads, and that more Aussies were embracing their favourite newspapers and magazines in digital form.

Roy Morgan’s ‘digital first’ view of the media landscape highlights that millions of Australians are accessing Newspaper and Magazine mastheads via their online channels,” she said.

“An estimated 19.4 million Australians aged 14+ (92%) read or accessed newspapers including metropolitan, regional and community titles in an average four weeks in the nine months to September 2020.

The metropolitan newspapers have a combined audience of 16.4 million Australians aged 14+ (78%).

Levine added:  “The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be a boon for Australia’s leading newspaper mastheads with many substantially increasing their enhanced cross-platform audiences during the last few months as Australians turn to trusted news sources to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in a fast-changing environment.”

Other key findings were that leading news providers News Corp and the ABC were visited by record numbers during the pandemic, and the Australian bushfires before that.

“Digital news channels reach huge audiences of Australians led by News Corp’s leading platform which Roy Morgan estimates was visited by over 11 million Australians during the nine months to September 2020 just ahead of ABC News visited by over 10.2 million,” Levine added.


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