Nielsen National Readership Survey: some magazines thrive while newspapers decline

The Nielsen National Readership Survey figures for Q4 2017 – Q3 2018 have been released and it’s not all doom and gloom for print.

Eighteen magazine titles have year-on-year growth in readership numbers in the over-10 age group, with some titles seeing particularly significant growth. 

Monthly titles such as Kia Ora, NZ Fishing News, Good Health Choices and M2 enjoy a healthy increase in readership in the last year, but times continue to be tough for weekly publications. No weekly title saw year-on-year growth with all titles dropping thousands of readers. The New Zealand Woman’s Weekly fared the worst, with the biggest audience loss at 537,000 down from 579,000 last year.

Good Health Choices’ 17,000 rise in readers year-on-year to 176,000 also reflects the industry accolades for editor Nicky Dewe, who won the Supreme NZ Post Editor of the Year award at the 2018 Webstar Magazine Media Awards. The magazine was revamped towards the end of last year, to better suit the New Zealand audience.

Bi-monthly title Metro had a 36,000 growth in readership, up to 162,000 from last year, and quarterly titles Simply You and AA Directions had the biggest growth in their categories. AA Directions had the largest total growth of any publication, up 90,000 readers to 913,000.

Women’s Day had the biggest dip in readership among weekly titles, down 33,000 from last year’s numbers to 520,000, closely followed by The TV Guide, which is down 31,000 to 328,000. Despite the large dip in numbers, Women’s Day remains the most widely read women’s title in New Zealand. The Australian Women’s Weekly (NZ) isn’t too far behind though, and the monthly magazine’s audience is continuing to grow, up to 494,000 from 489,000 last year.

Among the food titles, Cuisine has continued its downward trend, dropping 31,000 to 245,000 readers from this time last year. Dish has lost 6,000 readers to 137,000 while Food is the only title to remain steady at 137,000 – slightly up from its drop in the previous quarter to 135,000.

This year’s Webstar Magazine Media Awards Supreme Winner, New Zealand Geographic, has remained reasonably steady – maintaining readership from the previous quarter and only losing 4,000 readers year-on-year to 337,000. At the time of the win, NZ Geographic publisher James Frankham said the win was a tribute to the hard work of new editor Rebekah White. New Zealand Geographic was also crowned Magazine of the Year for the second consecutive year at the 2018 Voyager Media Awards.

“The magazine has never looked so good, and growth in sales reflect that,” he said.

In the newspaper space, The New Zealand Herald was the only major newspaper to see significant growth in year-on-year with a daily readership of 453,000 from 420,000 last year. The 2018 Newspaper of the Year (more than 30,000 readers), The Press, has retained its readership from the previous release period earlier this year, with 157,000 weekly national readers, up from 155,000 last year.

The Dominion Post continues to dip in readership year-on-year, down 10,000 to 148,000. However, the overall readership for all metropolitans is up 823,000 from 810,000 in 2017.

Despite the drop in numbers for newspapers, the landscape for newspaper liftouts and inserted magazines is much more positive. NZME’s Weekend magazine has the biggest rise in readers, to 294,000 from 273,000 last year, followed by Canvas with a 19,000 rise in readership. 

About Author

Caitlin Salter is a freelance writer who contributes to various publications at ICG Media.

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