NZME’s commitment to print pays off, readership figures grow

In good news for NZME, the New Zealand Herald has seen strong year on year print readership growth, up 4,000 readers to 430,000. Weekly readership has also increased by 9,000 to 786,000 readers year on year, according to the latest Neilsen National Readership Survey (Q3 2016 – Q2 2017).

The Weekend Herald readership has continued its upward growth trend, up 44,000 readers to 490,000.

The Herald on Sunday remains the most-read Sunday newspaper in New Zealand, and saw an increase of 2,000 readers from the previous period.

​NZME’s weekend editor Miriyana Alexander says she was thrilled to see the numbers go up.

“It’s a tough battle. The readership results have risen across the board and happening for all our platforms. It’s a testament to our team and I’m proud of them, everyone works hard.”

She says NZME is busting the myth that traditional print media is dying by being utterly committed to, and focused on, putting out a good paper.

“Newspapers matter to us. While we are a digital first newsroom, we have dedicated resources to print.”

Many of the Herald’s magazines had an increase in readership from the previous period.

Tuesday Travel readers increased by 5,000 to 266,000; Weekend saw 4,000 more readers, with Canvas the best read inserted magazine, reaching 286,000 readers each Saturday.

Alexander says this is down to having a set of magazines that are second to none across the week. “People like to hold the physically hold the curated products in their hands.”

It was interesting to see that the new NZME adaptors of print and digital were diverse, with growth in the multi-ethnic audience digital space, Alexander says.

“It was also surprising to see 26,000 more 20 to 29-year-olds print readers, it’s heartening to see that spread.”

The print and online components of NZME complement each other by not operating in isolation, she says.

“There is strength and reflection across platforms by working together and we pride ourselves on utterly owning big events such as the Lions tour and coverage of the election. There’s been a huge focus on investigative content, and Break the Silence, our series on suicide was a challenging but important feature which started a conversation with the country.”

As well as its print growth, its digital products experiencing audience growth, with the nzherald.co.nz site traffic increasing 32 percent since this period in 2016.

NZME acting chief commercial officer Matt Headland says the recent launch of the new nzherald.co.nz site will continue to strengthen the power of NZME journalism, “while NZ Herald Focus and Local Focus add another element to our news stories the audience can engage with.

NZME’s print performance was pretty good compared with other media outlets.

For Fairfax, the year-on-year readership for weekly newspapers the Sunday Star Times, Sunday News and dropped slightly, as did for daily newspapers Waikato Times and The Press. However, The Dominion Post was up 4,000 readers nationally to 166,000.

The independently owned Otago Daily Times was down slightly on national readership but up on readership numbers in Dunedin.

Source: Nielsen

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