Newspaper and Magazine Circulation and Readership releases

Most people in publishing know that there is a simple two step procedure to follow when the latest circulation and readership numbers are released. Step one is to trumpet the increases as loudly as possible. Step two is to keep quiet as the grave about decreases.

This month the Audit Bureau of Circulations and Nielsen released the latest data on the same day. The silence from publishers indicated a Waikumete Cemetry sized blackspot on the “decrease” side of the ledger.

With magazines, Mindfood and Healthy Food Guide fought against the gloom. At 22,797 copies Mindfood increased its circulation 73% over the previous year (having launched in March 2008).  Healthy Food Guide had an 8% increase in net circulation and a healthy 13% increase in readership.

Others did not fair so well; Woman’s Day lost 4% of circulation and 7% of readership; TV Guide lost 7% of circulation and 13% of readership and the New Zealand Womans Weekly lost 11% of circulation and 9% of readership.

Amongst newspapers, the NZ Herald’s average net circulation from July to December was 170,437, down from 180,939 for the same period the previous year. The Dominion Post also suffered, down to 88,100 from 92,055 (Jul-Dec 2008 vs 2009).

Most publishers blame the recession for the decreases in print readership but some have found silver linings in their digital divisions. In a press release Fairfax Media stated “Results in the latest Nielsen National Readership Survey show that aggregated audiences of Fairfax Media’s metropolitan mastheads – The Dominion Post, The Press and Waikato Times – across print and online are steadily increasing year on year to outperform their nearest competitors.”

Fairfax marketing head Sandra King puts this growth down to “hav(ing) a strong digital strategy for our newspaper brands. That means ensuring compelling, trusted and 100% local content is available anytime, anywhere. The Fairfax point of difference is our emphasis on quality brands and content rather than the media platform itself.”

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