In the last year, the print edition of the New Zealand Herald has enjoyed some good news, with average readership per issue lifting by 13,000 to 426,000 readers.
Readership increases were most pronounced on Wednesday, which is up 28,000 to 458,000 readers, and Friday, which has seen a 24,000 increase in readership to 411,000 readers since the previous survey (Q2 15 to Q1 16).
The Weekend Herald has also increased its readership, up 3,000 readers from the previous survey and up 22,000 from a year ago. Its audience now sits at 445,000.
The Herald on Sunday has retained its place as best-read Sunday newspaper in New Zealand, read by 308,000 New Zealanders each week.
NZME managing editor Shayne Currie is pleased by this result and says it's continuing to invest in its printed products, which earlier this year saw a refresh of the Weekend Herald and Herald on Sunday.
This investment, he says, is justified because readers continue to see value in what these publications offer.
“Whether they're picking up the Herald for their fashion fix in Viva, holiday tips in Travel or for their morning news and analysis, we know our team is consistently delivering quality journalism.”
He adds those improvements to the content have been leveraged with better targeting of subscription offers and an increase in focus on customer service to retain customers.
While free trial periods may be considered a big contributing factor to the rise, Currie says NZME has offered fewer trials this year compared to last, so it has not resulted in circulation or readership growth in that period.
Currie says free subscription trials are generally given to those who are most likely to convert into paying subscribers. It's presented as an opportunity for prospective customers to experience perks like home delivery. And Curie says the strategy is working, with 15 to 20 percent of recipients converting into paid subscribers, depending on the campaign.
This also serves as continuation of the successes of Herald weekday editor Murray Kirkness, who has clearly hasn't lost his knack for maintaining strong print readership since moving north from his previous role at the Otago Daily Times.
As well as its print growth, its digital products are also experiencing audience growth, with nzherald.co.nz seeing a 25 percent audience lift year-on-year according to Nielsen data. What's more is that August was a record month for the site as its content reached a unique audience of more than 1.9 million, as people searched for Olympic-related news. At the same time, nzherald.co.nz sport reached a unique audience of more than 1.2 million.
Wrapping up the growth of the Herald’s readership, is the rise of the daily brand audience, encompassing both print and online readers. It's up 37,000 readers to an audience of 840,000. Weekly brand audience also saw a rise of 28,000 to 1,370,000 since the previous survey.