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Australian magazine print readership down, but cross-platform engagement steady: Roy Morgan

Overall readership of print magazines has decreased to 13.3 million Australians aged 14+ (64 per cent), down 2.5 per cent from a year ago, according to the latest Roy Morgan Australian Readership report, but many print magazines continue to experience strong growth.

The number of people who engage with magazines in print or online formats – either via the web or an app – has increased by 0.6 per cent to a total of 15,205,000 Australians aged 14+ (73.3 per cent). 

These are the latest findings from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey of 49,462 Australians aged 14+ in the 12 months to September 2019. Total cross-platform audience includes print – average issue readership and digital – website visitation and app usage in an average 4 weeks, except for weekly titles which are in an average 7 days.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said that while print magazine readership is declining, it remains the favoured channel to consume magazines, stating that the latest survey shows that “Australians are still in love with their magazines with over 15.2 million Australians now reading magazines, whether in print or online, up by 88,000 on a year ago and equivalent to nearly three-quarters of the population.”

The five most read categories of magazines are: 

  • Food and Entertainment (6,792,000 Australians, 32.7 per cent of the population);
  • General Interest (4,615,000 Australians, 22.2 per cent of the population);
  • Mass Women’s (3,181,000 Australians, 15.3 per cent of the population);
  • Home and Garden (3,129,000 Australians, 15.1 per cent of the population);
  • Business, Financial and Airline (1,508,000 Australians, 7.3 per cent of the population).

The top two magazines to record the strongest growth over the last 12 months are News Corp’s Super Food Ideas with a readership increase of 39.5 per cent to 590,000 raeders, and Australian Geographic with an increase of 17.2 per cent to 675,000. 

Magazines that experienced print decline incuded titles in sporting categories (correllating with the end of a sporting season), 4WD and automotive titles, and some women’s/general interest.

Custom-published magazines 

Coles Magazine, produced by custom publisher Medium Rare Content Agency, and Woolworth’s Fresh produced by News Life Media, are the most widely read free magazines in Australia. Coles Magazine readership increased by 3.1 per cent to 4,762,000 and Fresh readership increased by 1.7 per cent to 4,194,000.

The recently launched Bunnings Magazine, also produced by Medium Rare Content, is the third most widely read free magazine, now read by 1,096,000 making the hardware retailer’s magazine one of only six read by more than 1 million Australians.

Airline and political titles show growth in Business category 

Overall the Business, Financial and Airline magazines readership experienced a decrease of 5.9 per cent over the last year to 1,508,000 (7.3 per cent of the population).

Despite the overall decline, three magazines in the category did increase their readership over the last year led by two of the airline magazines and Schwartz Media’s politically focused The Monthly, which increased readership by 6.4 per cent to 150,000.

Readership of Jetstar, produced by custom publisher Medium Rare Content, increased by 9.9 per cent to 267,000 while Virgin Australia Magazine, produced by custom publisher Hardie Grant, increased readership by 1.8 per cent to 230,000. However, Qantas Magazine, also published by Medium Rare Content, remains the most widely read magazine in the category with 393,000 readers.

Fishing magazines continue to increase readership

Roy Morgan found that there was growth in smaller magazine categories too, including Fishing magazines, which increased their readership by 9.7 per cent to 316,000 powered by strong performances from leading title Fishing World, up by 36.6 per cent to 235,000, and Fresh Water Fishing Australia up by 54.4 per cent to 105,000. 

This growth continues from last quarter, with the two major fishing titles increasing their readership by over 50 per cent each. 

Other magazines to perform strongly included: 

For the full results, visit Roy Morgan’s website

Written by Lyndsie Clark

Niche Publishing Network Founder and Editor Lyndsie Clark has over 10 years of niche publishing experience, working in a variety of roles spanning B2B editorial, sales, operations, events, BD, and management.

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