news article

8 February 2013

Fairfax Media metropolitan newspapers turn in steady quarter

Nielsen Consumer and Media Insights Survey (Q1 12 - Q4 12)

The latest Nielsen Consumer and Media Insights Survey results (Q1 12 - Q4 12) show metropolitan newspapers remain a key source of news and information for New Zealanders.

Fairfax Media CEO Allen Williams says despite a tough quarter, Fairfax Media's subscriber base remains strong. "In the turbulent times faced by the wider media industry, we are expending considerable effort in continuing to fine-tune our products, ensuring they're meeting the changing needs of our readers while continuing to deliver the high-quality content we're known for.

"Given our established focus on our audiences, rather than simply the medium they select at any given moment, we remain confident in each of our products and their futures. The continued strength of our audience across our platforms, and their appetite for multimedia content shows our integrated strategy is the right path for our business during this transition period the industry finds itself in."

This sustained integrated approach means Fairfax Media reaches 83.4% of New Zealanders every day across its multi-platform audience.

The company's digital audiences continue to grow, with stuff.co.nz returning a monthly audience of 1,097,000. Stuff's audience continues to show a great appetite for video, with monthly video views up 109.2% year-on-year to 1.84 million.

Fairfax Media's metropolitan newspapers were marked by minor changes. The Dominion Post returned a steady performance, up 1.3% year-on-year nationwide - reaching 43% of Wellingtonians on a typical day. The Dominion Post's daily brand audience now reaches 195,000 Wellingtonian's 15yrs+, up 5.4% year-on-year. The Waikato Times' daily newspaper audience in Hamilton is up 8.2% year-on-year, increasing its overall brand audience by 11.9% to reach 66,000 Hamiltonians. This increase is in conjunction with adjusting circulation post its previous change to mid-week morning editions and towards profitable distribution areas.

Despite a 7.7% year-on-year newspaper readership decline nationally, the Press has grown its brand audience 7.6%. The Press now reaches 61% of Christchurch. Overall the results reflect a return of pre-earthquake levels in media consumption across Christchurch publications.

The Sunday Star-Times remains the most read Sunday newspaper reaching 432,000 people aged 15 years and over across New Zealand. Fairfax Media's share of the total national Sunday audience is 72.5%.

During the past six months significant work has been done to strengthen the editorial direction of the paper, including strengthening the regional content supplied by the newsrooms in Christchurch and Wellington. With the appointment of new Auckland Editor-in-chief Garry Ferris, who will oversee all Auckland-based editorial staff, including the Sunday Star-Times team, it is expected the paper's editorial quality and consistency will continue improve, which should contribute to improved circulation and readership during 2013.

Despite a decline in circulation and corresponding readership during this transition period, measured in this quarter's results, the beginnings of this turnaround can be seen in recent circulations sales figures.

"Over the past eight weeks we've seen a consistent lift in national sales for the Sunday Star-Times, which suggests our readers are responding to the continual improvements we're making to the product," says Mr Williams. "The paper is settled with good consistent journalism every week and as a result we've seen a lift in circulation sales over the last month which was 6% better than during the same period last year. I'm absolutely confident in the future of this highly-regarded national Sunday newspaper and look forward to the work Garry will do with our team here in Auckland."

In the Auckland region, Auckland Suburban Newspapers reach 797,000 Aucklanders aged 15 years plus each week, connecting with more Aucklanders than any other publisher. Suburban Newspapers has maintained its substantial Auckland readership over a difficult period for community newspapers, remaining an effective avenue for advertisers to connect with their target markets when more economic activity enters the market.

Fairfax Magazines' premium lifestyle and automotive titles have shown strong annual readership growth, with NZ Life & Leisure up 34.2%, NZ Autocar up 45%, NZ House & Garden up 0.6% and Cuisine up 1.7% year-on-year.

 


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