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Weekday Go & Weekend Slow

Some 11.5 million read metropolitan and national newspapers across seven days, and they spend an average 30-plus minutes with them. TANYA SHINN discusses the preferences of this huge audience when they pick up a copy during the week, and then at the weekend. At a glance: 74% of adult population reads a newspaper 63% read…

Some 11.5 million read metropolitan and national newspapers across seven days, and they spend an average 30-plus minutes with them. TANYA SHINN discusses the preferences of this huge audience when they pick up a copy during the week, and then at the weekend.


  • 74% of adult population reads a newspaper
  • 63% read a metropolitan or national newspaper
  • 11.5m seven-day audience
  • 30+ minutes – the average time spent with a daily newspaper
  • 9.6m read a daily paper
  • 9.3m pick up a weekend paper
  • Readers 22% more likely to read arts & entertainment on weekends

One of the great commercial strengths of newspapers is their scale – 74 per cent of the adult population read a paper – and the levels of engagement with the content on weekdays and at the weekend.

Readers have a different mindset, depending on the day of the week and their prime motivation for buying, such as a favourite section or magazine insert.

The research shows that 9.6 million will pick up a metro or national newspaper during the week, whether they buy a copy or read it at their local café or workplace. By comparison with weekend papers, readers have a more focused intent on finding out the news of the day.

Essential information about major economic, political and social events at home and overseas are key motivators. And while they might have seen headlines or quickly consumed articles on their phone, they seek a credible and more in-depth experience in print.

Finance and business content rate highly among weekday readers, who are 14 per cent more likely to read business and finance content than weekend readers, according to emma data.

The value of a weekday paper is not lost on younger audiences. Those aged 29 or under are more inclined to pick up a newspaper than during the weekend. More than one-in-five (22%) say they will read a newspaper during the week. In total, 2.1 million in this demographic say they’ve picked up a paper in the last month.

A similar trend reveals itself for those aged 30-44, whose preference for weekday news sees audience figures increase by 240,000 during the work week to 2.3 million.

Older readers prefer the weekend experience. Those aged 45 and over make up 59 per cent of the weekend print audience, or three out of five readers.

By comparison to weekday readers, those who enjoy a paper on Saturdays and Sundays have a far more relaxed approach and enjoy the greater depth and variety of the journalism.

Weekend readers, who total 9.3 million across a month, are 22 per cent more likely to read arts and entertainment content and 15 per cent more likely to read sports content than weekday audiences.

By taking the day of week into account, along with the content environment and the character of the type of newspaper, advertisers have a variety of powerful choices to reach readers with a message that strikes a chord.

State of the states

Strongest daily newspaper readership exists in the Northern Territory with 66 per cent of the population reading a newspaper in the past four weeks.

Some 62 per cent of Victorians read a weekday newspaper while 58 per cent of West Australians and South Australians do the same. Residents of NSW register at 50 per cent for weekday readership, and in Tasmania and Queensland readership sits at 47 percent and 41 per cent respectively.

Western Australia and South Australia rank among the most prolific weekend newspaper readers with three in five reading a weekend paper in the last month. Similar numbers consume weekend newspapers in the Northern Territory and Victoria where weekend readership registers above 50 per cent.

Newspapers are a powerful tool for geographic targeting as different classes of newspapers provide different advantages. Metro newspapers, unlike metro TV stations, provide effective reach into both metro and regional Australia across the states, making them effective in regional markets as well as the major cities.

It’s about time

Data reveals that during the working week readers spend an average of 30 minutes every day reading a newspaper. On the weekend, more than half of the readers (51%) spend more than 30 minutes with their favourite newspapers.

When we look at the time of day readers choose to consume newspaper journalism, it is clear that early mornings are the preference. Readership of weekday newspapers peaks early in the morning with smaller spikes at midday and in the early evening.

On the weekends, readership peaks during the morning and then again in the early afternoon.

The early morning consumption of newspapers puts them in a unique position to determine what the key news agenda is on any given day – an advantage that extends to advertising content as readers plan the day ahead.


Source: emma™ conducted by Ipsos MediaCT, People 14+ for the 12 months ending September 2016. Metropolitan and national newspapers read in the last four weeks.

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