When I think ‘regions’ my head goes straight to Kerikeri and Northland – where I grew up. I get nostalgic for long summers, ugly oranges (that’s the non-export quality fruit that tastes best in my opinion) and simpler times. That quaint familiarity that drove us away in our youth is why many people, young and old, are returning to the regions in droves.
Last month, one of our seasoned reporters, Gerard Hutchings wrote that the regions – with their agriculture and tourism dollars – had overtaken the main centres’ economic growth. Hutchings outlined that Taranaki’s GDP growth of 4.2 percent was followed by the Bay of Plenty, Otago, the rest of the South Island (excluding Canterbury) and Whanganui- Manawatu. This was the first time since 2001 the four major centres had slower growth than the regions, a statement Infometrics chief forecaster Gareth Kiernan called “astounding”.
It’s a level of surprise I can relate to.
A few weeks into my new role at Stuff and I’m impressed with the breadth of coverage we have outside of the main centres. When looking at our monthly audience figures I can see that almost two million New Zealanders aged 15 and over live outside the main metro areas of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch – and of this large non-metro group, our regional papers reach 727,000 of these people each and every month. On top of this, our metro dailies provide an additional reach of 317,000 New Zealanders in regional New Zealand*.
Now, not all regions are created equal and we’ve had to make some tough decisions recently about some long-standing titles. But the regions are still the domain of the newspaper, and we continue to be in many parts of the country producing them (I’d also add that I’ve been a digital advocate for most of my career, so I say this with a wry smile). Complemented with our digital products, Stuff and Neighbourly, we reach 75 percent of regional New Zealanders, that’s 1.5 million people*; up from 72 percent in 2016.
There’s plenty more Cambridges out there
Maybe you chanced upon another recent Stuff story detailing how the expressway has been ‘the making of Cambridge’ due to its proximity, and now quick access to, Hamilton, Auckland, Taupo, Tauranga and Rotorua.
An already prosperous town renowned for its well healed leafy streets, equine industry and high-performance sporting facilities the population has hit 20,000 and looks like it will stay on the up with
an estimated additional population of 14,000 and potentially up to 9,000 homes in the next 20 years.
There’s an opportunity to capitalise on reaching audiences like Cambridge all over regional New Zealand (i.e. it's easy to focus on the Auckland market – but the sum of regional audiences is equally important). You can talk to us – whether it’s a print product, a dedicated local section for Waikato news on Stuff, or a super hyperlocal business offering to any one of our thousand or so existing neighbourhoods on Neighbourly.
The rise of Neighbourly – connected communities
I recently heard that one out of every three households are now connected through Neighbourly (635,053 households out of 1,824,000). This network attracts highly engaged members; people who log on every day for a summary of what's going on in their neighbourhood – because they get highly personal content. Ultimately, people use it to connect more closely with their community – to get and share thoughts on local news, build closer neighbourly connections/relationships – with neighbours, local organisations and local businesses as well as for safety, security, socialisation and consumer buying.
And it’s growing at an astronomical rate; last month we added over 20,000 members (that’s the whole population of Cambridge!) and monthly active users now exceed 940,000. Neighbourly's reach in New Zealand has increased from 15 percent to 24 percent in just the past two years*.
Developments such as Neighbourly Market, where members can buy, sell, and give away items to locals with no fees, are a result of some of the most popular categories on the site evolving to offer better long-term solutions based on member demand.
Every day, Stuff, Neighbourly and our daily / community newspapers connect with most New Zealanders aged 15 and above. With our expertise, you can get your media campaign out there and connect with your audience - wherever they are. Call your Stuff account manager or visit advertise.stuff.co.nz today.