Newspapers continue to bleed circulation according to latest ABC results

The print newspaper industry continues to struggle with retaining readers in a difficult time for the sector, with the latest circulation figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) showing losses almost across the board. 

Daily Publication: Circulation (change %) 

The Dominion Post: 79,438 (-2.8)  

NZ Herald: 162,181 (-5.0)

Otago Daily Times: 38,064 (-1.9)

The Press: 75,034 (-4.0)

The Southland Times: 26,765 (-4.4)

Waikato Times: 34,843 (-12.2)

(Note: circulation is a measure of a publication’s sales, as measured by the ABC; readership is a measure of possible readers, from the result of surveys conducted by Nielsen. These two reports are independent of each other.)

According to the ABC, all of the large dailies (25,000 + subsrcibers) had lower circulations than the previous year. The Waikato Times came off the worst, losing more than 12 percent of its circulation in 2012, while independent paper Otago Daily Times fared the best of the lot, losing only 1.9 percent of its circulation.

The New Zealand Herald, which went to tabloid format last year, dropped its readership by 39,000 from the previous year, according to Nielsen Consumer Media Insights. Other dailies didn’t see a statistically significant change in readership nationwide.

Nielsen says almost 1.5 million Kiwis aged 15+ are reading newspapers daily in 2012, but this is down almost 70,000 from the previous year.

Weekly Publication: Circulation (change %) 

Herald on Sunday: 101,295 (+0.2) 

The NBR: 7238 (-11.7)

Sunday News: 40,082 (-16.5)

Sunday Star-Times: 131,196 (-14.4)

Apart from the Herald on Sunday (HOS), all of the weekly newspapers saw double digit falls in circulation, according to ABC. The embattled Sunday Star-Times, which went through an editorial restructuring earlier this year, lost 34,000 readers says the Nielsen readership figures.

The HOS, which has traditionally been the only weekly to post increases in circulation over the past few years, is showing signs of decline, losing 0.73 percent of circulation in the last quarter, and 20,000 readers in the last year.  It remains to be seen what affect its upcoming redesign (launching this Sunday) will have on its readership in the future.

APN New Zealand, which publishes the NZ Herald and HOS, attributes part of the downturn in readership to the scrapping of its literacy program providing free newspapers to parents of children in lower decile schools. CEO Simon Martins adds that a good Kiwi summer in 2012 had many New Zealanders out of the house (and away from newspapers), and the Rugby World Cup and Christchurch earth quakes of 2011 make year on year comparisons difficult.

(Image credit: Thomas Hawk)

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