Roy Morgan finally reveals readership of newspaper sections

Roy Morgan Research has launched its long awaited data on readership habits for individual newspaper sections.

The company now offers information on what consumers say about their usage of 22 separate types of content within newspapers including news, sport, and business.  

There are two main metrics around newspaper consumption – audited copy sales, which are measured by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, and readership which attempts to estimate the total number of people who read a newspaper.

Newspaper readership research is becoming increasingly competitive after years of being dominated by Roy Morgan.

News Ltd recently published its own research and industry body The Newspaper Works is creating a metric, including sectional information, which will directly challenge Roy Morgan.

Roy Morgan says that its research will allow newspapers to demonstrate not only the number of readers estimated to open each section of a paper but how engaged they are with it. It argues that this will strengthen newspapers’ case to advertisers to book within a certain section.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most read section of newspapers is news, with around 86% readership. Next most popular is TV listings with 48% followed by sport with 45% and holidays & travel with 44%.

One other key finding is the popularity of the classic user-generated content – letters to the editor which scores 37%. Business sections fare relatively badly with the survey of newspapers (excluding the AFR) averaging just 23% readership for the section.

sectional readers all papersThe research also point to big disparities in consumption habits of men and women.

men v womenSport is the most male-centric section while fashion & beauty is the most female skewed.

The research includes data for individual newspapers’ sectional readership.

For news, The Weekday Australian scores just under 90%, almost the same as its weekend readership. By contrast the Australian Financial review sees news section reading of below 80% on weekdays and above 90% at weekends. Its business readership is above 70% for both.

Speaking at the launch of the research this morning, George Pesutto, RMR’s industry director for media and publishers said: “Publishers can now pitch very hard aroudn the environment they are providing. I think there should be a lot of people making phone calls once they get their head round the data.”

Existing subscribers to Roy Morgan will receive free access to the data for the next nine months before the company starts to charge for it.

The research is conducted by RMR in face-to-face interviews featuring 50,000 consumers.


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