The Nielsen National Readership Survey figures for Q3 2017 – Q2 2018 have been released with happy news for some, and a tough road ahead for others.
It was welcoming news for titles such as Kia Ora, NZ Rugby World, Metro, Fashion Quarterly and Simply You which all enjoyed a healthy increase year-on-year.
However, not all saw numbers rise, with North & South, readership decreasing from 228,000 to 199,000, New Zealand Listener dropping from 223,000 to 197,000 year-on-year, and Woman’s Day down from 566,000 to 525,000.
Food titles Dish and Food decreased slightly, with Dish going from 141,000 to 140,000 and Food from 149,000 to 135,000, while Taste broke the trend with an increase from 172,000 to 199,000.
New Zealand Weddings, New Zealand Geographic, Home NZ, NZ Life & Leisure remained constant with only slight changes.
As per the last release of figures, AA Directions had the highest readership count for the quarter, with 908,000 – up from 859,000 year-on-year.
In June, AA Directions editor Kath Webster told StopPress she believed the increasing popularity of AA Directions also reflects a growing appreciation for print magazines.
“Our content goes well beyond travel and motoring because our readers have such a wide range of interests – but having said that, our travel stories are always really well received. Any stories we run on cycling, electric vehicles and walking always get really good feedback, too.”
In the newspaper space, The New Zealand Herald roared ahead of the rest with a year-on-year daily readership growth of 430,000 to 453,000. There was also a rise for The Press from 152,000 to 157,000.
It was a slight dip for The Dominion Post (166,000 to 153,000), as well as the Otago Daily Post (92,000 to 84,000) and Waikato Times (56,000 to 51,000).
For the Sunday papers, there were slight dips for all three year-on-year, with the largest for the Sunday News from 98,000 to 89,000.
NZME magazines Bite, Canvas, Business and Spy all saw an increase in readership, while its Viva and Timeout decreased slightly.
NZME managing editor Shayne Currie says newspapers continue to play a valuable and essential role in people's lives, and readers continue to engage with premium content.
“We are incredibly proud of the work we have done to date in the investigative journalism space. We are focusing on expanding our premium offering this year and will continue to foster our deeply engaged audience."
In June, Currie spoke to NZ Marketing about what that premium offer will look like following an announcement a paywall would be added.
“We have a project team looking really closely at what we can offer in terms of premium journalism, what people are prepared to pay for, and how we present that generally,” he said.
He added, NZME doesn’t refer to it as a “paywall” anymore because it sees it as having negative connotations. Instead, it’s called a “digital subscription tool” or a “pay gate”. Many other publications call it a membership, often offering tiered options and various benefits.
“I think in the case of our newspapers we have seen people are prepared to pay for journalism and we believe it’s high time that with the right journalism and premium content people will be prepared to pay for that in a digital sense,” said Currie.