Traditional mastheads still rule Australian news: Total News readership

Ninety-six per cent of Australians are engaged with the news, according to Roy Morgan’s latest Total News readership figure, and written news remains king.

Australians news readers are “highly engaged”, according to the results, with 50% of consumers considered “heavy users”, who consume news content across a number of categories.

Seventy per cent of Australians are reading news across three or more categories, in addition to general news content. The most popular specialist categories are property (68%), sport (61%), lifestyle and health (58%), entertainment and culture (52%), and business and finance (48%).

Although digital technology has allowed the rise of audio and video news online, more Aussies still read their news, than listen or view, with 56% reading, compared to 52% watching news videos, and 29% listening via podcasts or digital radio.

Vanessa Lyons, executive general manager of Think News Brands, who commissioned the survey, said: “Aussies eagerly embrace news content in all forms, spanning diverse topics and moments throughout the day.”

“These latest audience figures reaffirm that Total News is a consistently dependable media component for advertisers”.

As Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan, added: “Total news continues to prove itself a premium and resilient media channel, with audiences demonstrating a commitment to high-quality news content as a key source of information. Readers are engaged and consume across a wide variety of categories, as the way they consume news evolves alongside the medium itself.”

While 19.7 million Australians will consume news digitally, 57% will engage with both printed and digital news in any given month.

The Sydney Morning Herald commands the highest readership of the mastheads, with a unique audience of 7.5 million, followed by The Age, with 5.1 million. A run of News Corp publications fill out the top five.

It seems that Australians are still willing to pay money for news, despite the proliferation of free news services online.

Sixty per cent of all readers are paying to access written news content, and they are 20% more likely than the general population to be homeowners and big. Seventy per cent of these subscribers are also planning a holiday in the next 12 months.

News media over indexes with ‘super NEOs – consumers that are 2.4x more likely to earn over $250,000 per year, and three times more likely to invest and spend their money compared to other demographics.

Those who frequently read the business and finance, travel, and automotive news categories are “more affluent and significantly more likely than the total population to have $1 million or more in savings and investments,” according to Roy Morgan.

Total News reaches over 97% of households in the greater than $150,000 income bracket.

These are attractive statistics to advertisers looking for price-insensitive customers, given the ANZ Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Index has dropped over 20 basis points since April 2020.

“The reliability and strength of the Total News audience speaks to how news is part of our everyday lives, even in tough times,” Levine said.

“The ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Index is at a historic low; this is recessionary risk territory as Australian consumers are very worried and this is affecting their spending patterns in turn,” she said.

“Despite this, perhaps even because of this, news readership and engagement remain strong as Australians turn to the news to keep them apprised and ready for what may come next.”


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