SMH Australia’s #1 cross-platform masthead with 8.4m, latest Roy Morgan figures show

The first release of total news readership figures produced by Roy Morgan for Think News Brands shows that news reached 97% of the Australian population aged 14 and older, in the 12 month to June 2021.

Measuring both print and digital brands the readership data shows news is holding strong with 20.4 million Australians consuming news in a four-week period, an increase of 1% compared to the same period last year.

Digital news maintains its position of strength with readership of 19.1 million, or 90% of the population aged 14 and over.

Print news has seen a 6% increase compared to the same period last year, now reaching 14.1 million people, 67% of the population aged 14 and older.

Those figures include metropolitan, local and regional titles for print editions, online via website, app or news platforms.

Source: Think News Brands. All audience data is based on the past 4 weeks averaged over the 12 months to June 2021. 

In the past four weeks Nine-owned The Sydney Morning Herald was Australia’s top masthead, read by over 8.4 million people. In the 12 months to March 2021, SMH also took top spot, with a cross-platform audience of 8.5 million.

The SMH was followed by fellow Nine masthead The Age, which had a cross-platform audience of 6 million Australians in an average four-week period.

News Corp’s The Australian took third position with  a cross-platform audience of 5.2 million,  followed by its Daily Telegraph with a cross-platform audience of 4.9 million.

Melbourne Herald Sun was read by over 4.7 million people, while The West Australian and Sunday Times had a readership of 4.1 million.

Think News Brands general manager, Vanessa Lyons, said: “With all of us feeling the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, trusted, timely news has never been more important. This is very clearly reflected in the first release of Total News readership figures which shows news maintaining robust audiences.”

In April, Think News Brands appointed Roy Morgan to measure news readership and the retirement of EMMA (Enhanced Media Metrics Australia).

The organisation said this move was in response for “the need to implement a single unified readership metric for total news, produced by one entity rather than with multiple data sources”.

EMMA was founded prior to its implementation as the measurement metric by The Readership Works, using print readership data from Ipsos and Nielson for its monthly digital datings. It replaced Roy Morgan as the measurement body for the news industry some eight years ago. In July 2020, The Readership Works put the call out for expressions of tender for EMMA.

A number media buyers have in the past raised concerns about the publisher-funded EMMA. The program will be retired, just over half way through its five year extension with the two market research firms.

Meanwhile, IAB and Nielsen are currently at a loggerhead over Nielsen’s digital measurement system.  Nielsen has confirmed to Mumbrella it will do a “soft-release” of the latest dataset to clients, but the new audience data won’t be supported by the IAB. Nielsen and IAB first announced a new “privacy-compliant and future-proofed audience measurement system” in September 2020.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.