The Nielsen National Readership Survey figures for Q2 2017 – Q1 2018 have been released with good news for some and a bumpy ride for others.
Titles such as Boating NZ, Good Health Choices, Kiwi Gardener, Habitat, and Kia Ora enjoy a healthy increase in readership, while the figures were tough for weekly publications such as New Zealand Listener slipping from 228,000 to 190,000 year-on-year, and New Zealand Woman’s Weekly moving from 594,000 to 561,000.
Good news for Metro magazine with a year-on-year increase from 119,000 to 137,000, Home Style went up from 93,000 to 103,000 and Your Home and Garden from 244,000 to 257,000.
For North and South, readership numbers dropped year-on-year from 224,000 to 210,000, as did NZ Life and Leisure from 109,000 to 87,000.
Foods titles such as Cuisine, Dish and Food all experienced large dips from last year - Cuisine from 273,000 to 256,000, Dish from 148,000 to 140,000 and Food from 169,000 to 134,000.
With the sale of Cuisine from Stuff to the editor Kelli Brett late last year, it will be interesting to see how the magazine's readership figures perform in the future. Also, with the introduction of Nadia magazine (Bauer), which was the winner of Supreme Magazine of the Year at the 2017 Magazine Media Awards, there will be more competition between food titles.
And considering the changes at Sky, with John Fellet announcing his retirement and the company losing the rights to the Rugby World Cup, it may not be surprising to see the drop in readership for Skywatch from 569,000 this period last year to 515,000.
Mindfood, New Zealand Geographic, Fashion Quarterly, New Zealand Weddings remained constant with only slight changes.
There will be celebrations at AA Directions as the magazine had the highest readership count, with an average readership of 907,000 for the first quarter – a significant increase from the previous year’s count of 837,000.
AA Directions Editor Kath Webster says the increase is a vote of confidence in the magazine.
“It’s fantastic to still have the highest readership count of any magazine in New Zealand and the numbers are growing. Having such a huge audience means our content resonates with a large percentage of the population.
“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.”
Webster believes the increasing popularity of AA Directions also reflects a growing appreciation for print magazines.
In the newspaper arena, The New Zealand Herald has come out firing all cylinders, with its readership jumping to 459,000 from 425,000, while The Waikato Times, The Dominion Post, The Press and the Otago Daily Times have all fallen, with the largest being The Waikato Times from 60,000 this time last year to 51,000.
The Herald on Sunday continues an upward trajectory for NZME, with a year-on-year increase from 335,000 to 349,000, and for NZME magazines Canvas, Viva, TimeOut, Business, Bite, and Spy saw increased readership from the previous readership release period.
NZME managing editor Shayne Currie says the readership growth shows New Zealanders value premium journalism and that newspapers continue to play a valuable and essential role in people's lives.
“We have a fantastic team of editors and journalists who do an outstanding job producing top-level content across all platforms. It's very easy for a typical media business to focus on one or two platforms - the beauty of NZME is we're building audiences and producing our journalism on all levels, including print, digital, social, radio and video. There's even more exciting times ahead, as we fully focus on expanding our premium journalism, and building a deeply engaged audience."
Last month Stuff's nine daily regionals and metropolitan papers went to compact size, a move Bernadette Courtney, editor-in-chief – newsrooms, told StopPress was something born of both long-term vision and quick execution. This followed February's announcement to sell or close 28 mastheads. Despite this the community newspapers for Stuff performed, with titles such as the Central Leader and the Rodney Times increasing readership.
Stuff editorial director, Mark Stevens, says the company was pleased to see its efforts paying off in the Auckland market.
"[This is] an area we’ve heavily invested in with strong newsroom leaders and talent over the last few months – with a massive 30 percent increase year-on-year in online ratings and mirrored in print readership with Auckland Suburban newspapers results being up 1.2 percent. The value of our content partnerships with other media has allowed us to increase the richness and diversity of content for Aucklanders and it’s nice to see more and more Aucklanders turning to us for local news as well as national and international coverage."
Looking at the advertising side for newspapers, things weren't so healthy. Early this year, Standard Media Index released 2017 agency ad spend in New Zealand with newspapers down 6.9 percent to $56.7 million. Newspapers and magazines (down 14.3 percent) were the only two media channels to fall.
However, its not all gloom and doom, looking at the top visited site figures for New Zealand from Nielsen for May 2018 - Stuff and NZherald.co.nz were both in the top ten, at sixth and eight place respectively.