Print readers richer in NZ, as digital growth rises

Digital growth is strong and newspaper buyers are getting richer, the latest Nielsen results for New Zealand show.

Fairfax Media news site leads the charge online with a monthly unique audience 1,540,000* in April, up from 1,277,000 in April 2013, according to Nielsen Netview.

APN masthead The New Zealand Herald saw a 23 per cent jump into seven figures, from 986,000 in April 2013 to 1,211,000 unique viewers in April 2014.

Rounding out the top three was the Otago Daily Times, growing by more than 50 per cent from 95,000 unique viewers in April 2013 to 143,000 in April 2014.

Meanwhile in print, although readership has declined by around 0.5 per cent in the last 12 months, New Zealand newspapers are attracting wealthier readers, the Nielsen Consumer Media Insights research shows.

The rolling 12-month figures for key audiences based on the average issue readership of all daily newspapers show a 4.9 per cent rise in readers with a household income of over $100,000, and a 3.7 per cent rise in those of over $160,000, between the first quarter of 2013 and Q1 2014.

Newspaper Publishers’ Association editorial director Rick Neville said the growth reflected changes newspapers had made to appeal to a wider readership as many afternoon papers switched to morning.

“They represent pretty positive results,” he said. “Readership is holding up quite well in New Zealand at the moment.

“There’s been a long held tradition of afternoon dailies in the regional press, but that has changed in last two years. All the APN regional dailies – the majority of which were afternoon broadsheets – have converted to morning compact.”

The New Zealand Herald, New Zealand’s most widely read newspaper, went from broadsheet to compact last September.

Personal incomes among readers rose even further, with a 5.3 per cent rise in readers with personal incomes above $80,000 and 9.1 per cent more above $100,000 between Q1 2013 and Q1 2014.

“I think [affluent readership] has been a trend for quite some time,” Mr Neville said. “People with money are the keenest newspaper buyers and that’s one of the arguments publishers have always put to advertisers.

“They’ve got the disposable income and they’re more likely to be interested in property, services and products. They’re better educated and they read more.”

The same period also saw a 0.6 per cent increase in total household shoppers reading newspapers.

Australian newspaper media reaches four out of five main grocery buyers, according to emma data, and shoppers who read newspapers spend more on groceries than non-newspaper readers. Heavy newspaper readers spend an average of $144 a week – some $7 more than non-newspaper readers ($137).

*All figures rounded, from Nielsen via Newsworks NZ

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