The average issue readership of The New Zealand Herald has grown by 3.1 per cent compared with last year, according to new Nielsen data.
NZME’s flagship masthead and New Zealand’s most read paper now has 426,000 readers, 13,000 more than last year.
Readers across each day have also increased with the exception of Tuesday, which remains unchanged.
The Weekend Herald readers increased by 5 per cent or 22,000 from a year ago to 445,000.
The nzherald.co.nz audience increased 25 per cent year on year.
Rio Olympics coverage helped the site break records in August as its unique audience topped 1.9 million.
The New Zealand Herald’s Daily Brand Audience, which covers both print and online readers, increased by 37,000 readers to 840,000.
The growth in readership is in part a reflection of the strong population growth in Auckland and its surrounding areas.
Auckland Council estimated in 2015 that the region added 819 residents each week.
NZME managing editor Shayne Currie said the increased readership demonstrated the power of quality journalism and relevant, engaging and entertaining content.
“Having readership increases across the board shows The Herald’s variety of content is resonating with New Zealanders. Whether they are picking up The Herald for their fashion fix in Viva, holiday tips in Travel or for their morning news and analysis, we know our team is consistently delivering quality journalism,” Mr Currie said.
When it comes to monthly average unique audience for news sites, nzherald.com.nz still trails behind Fairfax Media’stuff.co.nz, however it did grow at a faster rate in the 12 months ending August 2016.
Stuff.co.nz grew by 10.9 per cent to a unique audience of 1,893,000 while nzherald.co.nz grew up 19.8 per cent to 1,578,000.
The strong performance of NZME comes as regulators evaluate a proposed merger between NZME and Fairfax NZ.
Fairfax would take a 41 per cent stake in the merged company and pocket NZ$55 million in cash as part of the deal.
The New Zealand Commerce Commission is expected to rule on the proposal on or before March 15 next year.
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