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Masthead Audiences grow despite Print declines

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, April 2012 – March 2014, average annual n = 49616 Australians 14+

Most of Australia’s major metro newspapers have increased their masthead audiences—even though fewer people read their print editions, the latest results from Roy Morgan Research show.  

Of the ten main capital city dailies, seven increased their Masthead Audiences from March 2013 to March 2014, and only three declined. Masthead Audience is the number of people who read or access publisher branded (i.e. masthead) content across all platforms of print, website and mobile smartphone or tablet apps in an average seven days.

The Financial Review scored the highest proportional growth (22.8%), while the Sydney Morning Herald had the largest increase in audience over the period (189,000, or 6.0% growth), extending its lead over the Daily Telegraph (up 3.5%) and Herald Sun (up 0.7%) as Australia’s most-accessed masthead.

The audience also grew for The Age (2.9%), The Australian (2.3%) and the Adelaide Advertiser (2.0%), but shrunk for newspapers in Brisbane and Perth.

However an increasing proportion of each masthead’s audience is only using websites or apps for their newspaper consumption. Eight newspapers lost print readers in the past year, but five of those still experienced growth in masthead audience.

Print Readership among Masthead Audiences – 12 months to March 2013 vs 2014

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, April 2012 – March 2014, average annual n = 49616 Australians 14+

Only 41% of the Sydney Morning Herald’s audience read a print edition, down from 45% in March 2013.

The Adelaide Advertiser still has the highest proportion of print readers, but it has fallen strongly from 82% to 72% in a year. 

Although the Financial Review was one of only two publications to gain print readers, a much bigger rise in online readership has reduced print readers from 70% to 60% of the total audience. 

Tim Martin, General Manager - Media, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Further analysis of masthead audience figures shows that advertisers need to examine not only how audiences differ between publications but how they differ within publications. People reading a masthead online are often not the same as those reading it in print.

“Helix Personas can dissect and pinpoint readership to help advertisers maximise their targeting potential. In Victoria, people in the young, hip and cashed-up ‘New School Cool’ persona (203) are below average readers of the Herald Sun masthead overall—but they form the biggest bloc of online-only readers: more than 1 in 12 people on the Herald Sun site or app.

“And in NSW, Quiet Achievers (210) comprise just 1 in 50 print-only SMH readers, but 1 in 20 online-only readers.  ‘Average Aussies’ (306) are big fans of the Daily Telegraph print edition, but you’d be wasting your money trying to target them online. ‘Career and Kids’, however, are just as likely to be reading the Telegraph online only as in print only.

“Roy Morgan Research’s Single Source data is the preferred multi-media audience measurement currency used by the majority of Australian media strategy, planning and buying agencies, telecommunications, financial services and automotive brands.”

For comments or more information please contact:

Tim Martin, General Manager – Media
Telephone: +61 (3) 9224 5116

Please click on this link to the Roy Morgan Online Store

Related Research

View our latest Newspaper Readership Figures or Magazine Readership Figures.

About Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices in each state of Australia, as well as in New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan Research has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

In Australia, Roy Morgan Research is considered to be the authoritative source of information on financial behaviour, readership, voting intentions and consumer confidence. Roy Morgan Research is a specialist in recontact customised surveys which provide invaluable and effective qualitative and quantitative information regarding customers and target markets.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate



25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%