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3 million New Zealanders read newspapers and nearly 1.8 million read magazines in 2020

Roy Morgan readership results for New Zealand’s print newspapers and magazines for the 12 months to December 2020.

Roy Morgan readership results for New Zealand’s print newspapers and magazines for the 12 months to December 2020.

3 million, or 73.9%, of New Zealanders aged 14+ now read or access newspapers in an average 7-day period via print or online (website or app) platforms. In addition, nearly 1.8 million New Zealanders aged 14+ (43.9%) read magazines whether in print or online either via the web or an app.

These are the latest findings from the Roy Morgan New Zealand Single Source survey of 6,496 New Zealanders aged 14+ over the 12 months to December 2020.

Cross-platform audience grows for New Zealand Herald to nearly 1.9 million people

The standout performer during the COVID-19 hit 2020 was New Zealand’s most widely read publication the New Zealand Herald. The Herald had a total cross-platform audience of 1,883,000 in the 12 months to December 2020, an increase of 72,000 on a year ago. 

The Herald is read by more than four times as many New Zealanders as any other publication as readers flocked to the biggest name in newspapers to keep up to date with changing rules and regulations and the latest news on the COVID-19 crisis in New Zealand and around the world.

Stuff.co.nz retains the leading position as New Zealand’s leading news portal for those on the lookout for the latest news on COVID-19 and what is going on in the country bringing together leading newspapers the Dominion Post, The Press and Sunday Star-Times, and magazines such as the TV Guide and NZ Gardener. The total digital audience for Stuff in an average 7 days is over 1.7 million New Zealanders ahead of main rival NZHerald.co.nz on 1.64 million.

Other titles had a more challenging year although the Otago Daily Times grew its digital audience by 14,000 (+7.5%) to 200,000 and now attracts a total cross-platform audience of 254,000 making it the fourth most widely read publication in New Zealand.

Wellington's Dominion Post is in a clear second place with a readership of 416,000, followed by The Press in third place with 288,000 readers.

Filling out the top ten are the Sunday Star-Times in fifth place with 220,000 readers ahead of the Waikato Times on 193,000, Hawke’s Bay Today on 154,000, Bay of Plenty Times on 145,000, the Northern Advocate on 107,000 and the Taranaki Daily News on 106,000.

Despite the challenges of 2020 Stuff’s newspapers have recovered strongly in the second half of the year with six out of ten titles growing their print readership in the December quarter 2020 and eight of ten increasing their print readership over the second half of the year since the June quarter 2020.

The Stuff newspapers which grew their print readership included the Dominion Post in Wellington, Sunday Star-Times, Taranaki Daily News, Nelson Mail, Southland Times, Sunday News, Manawatu Standard and the Timaru Herald.

Top 10 Newspapers – Total 7 Day Cross-Platform Audience (Print & Online)

Publication

Print

Digital
(web or app)

Total 7 Day Cross-Platform Audience* (print, web or app)

Dec
2019

Dec
2020

Dec
2019

Dec
2020

Dec
2019

Dec
2020

% Change

‘000s

‘000s

‘000s

‘000s

‘000s

‘000s

%

New Zealand Herald

721

595

1,488

1,637

1,811

1,883

4.0%

Dominion Post

297

211

315

278

487

416

-14.6%

The Press

215

160

205

181

347

288

-17.0%

Otago Daily Times

140

98

186

200

264

254

-3.8%

Sunday Star-Times

285

172

69

59

334

220

-34.1%

Waikato Times

138

82

137

128

244

193

-20.9%

Hawke’s Bay Today

89

72

110

101

161

154

-4.3%

Bay of Plenty Times

77

67

112

102

163

145

-11.0%

Northern Advocate

69

52

75

62

128

107

-16.4%

Taranaki Daily News

55

60

103

69

135

106

-21.5%

Full Newspaper Readership Results available to view here.

*Cross-Platform Audience is the number of New Zealanders who have read or accessed individual newspaper content via print or online. Print is net readership in an average 7 days. Online is net readership online in an average 7 days.

Cuisine and Australian Women’s Weekly increase their readership during COVID-19 hit 2020

New Zealand’s most widely read magazine is easily the driving magazine AA Directions which had an average issue readership of 365,000 during 2020 and is almost double the second placed New Zealand Listener on a readership of 185,000.

Two of the leading magazines to increase their readership in 2020 despite the significant disruptions caused by COVID-19 were Cuisine, with a readership of 118,000, up 19,000 on a year ago and the Australian Women’s Weekly (NZ Edition) which increased its readership by 3,000 to 180,000.

Other magazines to benefit in 2020 were those with a focus on home improvement and interior decorating as well as cooking and recipes. Just outside the top ten most read magazines were the home improvement magazine Habitat, which increased its readership by 26,000 to 90,000, and also increasing was the cooking and recipe focused Dish, with readership up by 22,000 to 89,000.

Other widely read magazines included TV Guide with a readership of 166,000, NZ Woman’s Day on 152,000, NZ Woman’s Weekly on 105,000, NZ Gardener on 101,000, North & South on 100,000 and in tenth place NZ House & Garden on 92,000.

Several Are Media magazines including New Zealand Listener, Australian Women’s Weekly (NZ Edition), NZ Woman’s Day and NZ Woman’s Weekly were temporarily suspended from publication in the June and September 2020 quarters due to the New Zealand lockdown. The figures for these magazines do not show readership for the latest quarter – average readership is allocated instead.

New Zealand’s Top 10 Magazines by Average Issue Print Readership

Publication

Dec 2019

Dec 2020

% Reach Change

‘000s

‘000s

%

AA Directions*

482

365

-3.1%

**New Zealand Listener*

233

185

-1.2%

**Australian Women’s Weekly
(NZ Edition)*

177

180

0.0%

TV Guide*

212

166

-1.2%

**NZ Woman’s Day*

251

152

-2.5%

Cuisine

99

118

0.4%

**NZ Woman’s Weekly*

151

105

-1.2%

NZ Gardener*

119

101

-0.5%

**North & South*

103

100

-0.1%

NZ House & Garden*

129

92

-0.9%

Full Readership Results for over 90 New Zealand Magazines available to view here.

*Roy Morgan has measured additional readership for this magazine via Cross-Platform Audiences – see next section.
**Note: Are Media magazines were temporarily suspended during the June and September 2020 quarters. North & South was temporarily suspended after March 2020 until resuming publication in late November 2020. Results for some of these magazines have been suppressed for the latest quarter, average issue readership is allocated instead.

North & South and Dish lead cross-platform* audience growth – both up over 12% on a year ago

Of the leading magazines it was North & South which increased its total cross-platform audience by 21,000, or 14.6%, to 165,000 and Dish, which grew its cross-platform audience by 16,000 (+12.4%) to 145,000 which had the most impressive performance in the 12 months to December 2020.

Also growing its cross-platform audience was Australian Women’s Weekly (NZ Edition) with an increase of 7,000 (+3.3%) to 218,000 making it the second most widely read magazine in New Zealand.

However, motoring magazine AA Directions is still easily New Zealand’s most widely read magazine with a market-leading total cross-platform audience of 441,000 – more than twice as many as any other magazine.

Other leading magazines with strong cross-platform audiences include New Zealand Listener on 209,000, NZ Woman’s Day on 207,000, TV Guide on 194,000, NZ Woman’s Weekly on 172,000, NZ Gardener on 145,000 and Mindfood on 138,000.

Top 10 Magazines – Total Cross-Platform Audience (Print & Online)

Publication

Print

Digital
(web or app)

Total Cross-Platform Audience*
(print, web or app)

Dec
2019

Dec
2020

Dec
2019

Dec
2020

Dec
2019

Dec
2020

% Change

‘000

‘000s

‘000s

‘000s

‘000s

‘000s

%

AA Directions

482

365

156

148

541

441

-18.5%

**Australian Women’s Weekly (NZ Edition)

177

180

51

59

211

218

3.3%

**New Zealand Listener

233

185

61

56

261

209

-19.9%

**NZ Woman’s Day/ Now to Love

251

152

95

88

309

207

-33.0%

TV Guide

212

166

74

50

250

194

-22.4%

**NZ Woman’s Weekly/ Now to Love

151

105

95

88

228

172

-24.6%

**North & South

103

100

56

84

144

165

14.6%

Dish

67

89

77

79

129

145

12.4%

NZ Gardener

119

101

65

64

164

145

-11.6%

Mindfood

117

78

83

76

179

138

-22.9%

Full Newspaper Readership Results available to view here.

*Cross-platform audience is the number of New Zealanders who have read or accessed individual magazine content via print or online. Print is average issue readership. Digital is average website visitation and app usage (if available) in last 7 days for weekly titles (National Business Review, New Idea, NZ Listener, NZ Woman's Day, NZ Woman's Weekly, Property Press, That's Life, Time, TV Guide) and last 4 weeks for all other non-weekly titles.

**Note: Are Media magazines were temporarily suspended during the June and September 2020 quarters. North & South was temporarily suspended after March 2020 until resuming publication in late November 2020. Results for some of these magazines have been suppressed for the latest quarter, average issue readership is allocated instead.

Canvas and Weekend are the most widely read newspaper inserted magazines

The Weekend New Zealand Herald newspaper inserted magazine Canvas (North Island) with an average issue readership of 231,000 again leads the field as the most widely read ahead of Weekend (North Island) now read by 175,000.

Behind the two market leaders are Sunday on 164,000, Viva (North Island) on 147,000 and both Bite (North Island) and Your Weekend on 130,000.

New Zealand’s Leading Newspaper Inserted Magazines by Print Readership

Publication

Dec 2019

Dec 2020

% Reach Change

‘000s

‘000s

%

Canvas (North Island)

285

231

-1.4%

Weekend (North Island)

216

175

-1.1%

Sunday

241

164

-2.0%

Viva (North Island)

163

147

-0.5%

Bite (North Island)

174

130

-1.2%

Your Weekend

199

130

-1.8%

Full Readership Results for over 70 New Zealand Magazines available to view here.

Michele Levine, Chief Executive Officer, Roy Morgan, says:

“The latest Roy Morgan readership figures for New Zealand covering the year to December 2020 includes the nearly three-month long lockdown period the country experienced starting in mid-March which ended on Monday June 8.

“During this period New Zealanders were largely confined to their homes with one of the world’s strictest lockdowns closing most retail stores except for those selling food and other essentials and the publication of several leading magazines was temporarily suspended for up to eight months.

“Nevertheless, 3 million New Zealanders (73.9% of the population aged 14+) now read or access newspapers in an average 7-day period via print or online (website or app). During 2020 the standout performer was clearly the New Zealand Herald which grew its cross-platform audience by 4% to 1.88 million and is now read by nearly 47% of New Zealanders aged 14+.

“Other newspapers to grow their cross-platform audiences in 2020 despite the lockdowns and disruptions caused by COVID-19 were the Wanganui Chronicle, up 3.9% to 79,000 and Ashburton Guardian, up 5.4% to 39,000.

“The Stuff group of newspapers brings together ten of the country’s leading newspapers such as the Dominion Post, The Press and the Sunday Star-Times through their news portal Stuff.co.nz. Eight out of Stuff’s ten newspapers grew their print readership in the December quarter 2020 compared to the mid-year June quarter 2020 and the platform’s overall digital audience of 1.72 million New Zealanders reaches 42.4% of the population in an average 7 days.

“New Zealand’s magazines obviously faced the similar headwinds to newspapers during the middle parts of 2020 with regular retail sales channels of print versions heavily restricted. Several magazines even suspended their publishing during this period from April to as late as November 2020.

“The closure of print channels notwithstanding, nearly 1.8 million New Zealanders (43.9% of the population aged 14+) read magazines whether in print or online either via the web or an app.

“Leading magazines to grow their digital audiences despite the challenges thrown up by the pandemic included Australian Women’s Weekly (NZ Edition), Dish, Habitat and North & South.”

Download our latest profiles of New Zealanders who read different Newspapers or Magazines.

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About Roy Morgan

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

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

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

1,000

±3.0

±2.7

±1.9

±1.3

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

7,500

±1.1

±1.0

±0.7

±0.5

10,000

±1.0

±0.9

±0.6

±0.4

20,000

±0.7

±0.6

±0.4

±0.3

50,000

±0.4

±0.4

±0.3

±0.2