Readership of community newspapers in all mainland capital cities has declined, but many titles are bucking the trend and finding new local readers, the latest Roy Morgan Community Newspaper Readership results for the 24 months to September 2016 show.
In Sydney, the St George & Sutherland Shire Leader extended its lead as the most-read community paper, with 220,000 readers per average issue (up 15.8 per cent compared with the period to September 2015). Other titles with growing readership include the Bankstown-Canterbury Torch (up 8.2 per cent to 92,000), the Penrith Press (up 21.0 per cent to 75,000), Northern District Times (up 11.3 per cent to 69,000), and the Mosman Daily (up 5.8 per cent to 55,000).
Two other mastheads continue to reach over 100,000 locals per average edition—across multiple editions each week. The Wednesday and Friday issues of the Central Coast’s Express Advocate now average 141,000 readers (down 6.0 per cent), while the Manly Daily finds 128,000 readers on Saturdays (down 5.2 per cent) and 103,000 for its average Tuesday to Friday edition (down 6.4 per cent).
“Our latest readership results show that these free publications reach over six million Australians a week, and provide an unmatched, localised platform for smaller advertisers in the area—as well as national retailers and banks needing to engage effectively with individual suburban target markets,” said Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan Research.
In Melbourne, seven of News Corp’s Leader publications ceased publication in June—but was it perhaps premature for some? Before it closed, the Melton Leader was Melbourne‘s fastest growing community title (up 47.8 per cent to 34,000). Leader editions in Wyndham and Bayside were also gaining readers on the way to the finish line—although less than their direct local competitors, the Brimbank & Northwest Star Weekly (up 33.3 per cent to 36,000) and Wyndham Star Weekly (up 19.0 per cent to 50,000) from Star News Group and Metro Media Publishing.
Among the remaining Leader titles, growth was strongest for Maribyrnong (up 20.0 per cent to 24,000), Hume (up 6.1 per cent to 52,000), Bayside (up 5.6 per cent to 76,000), Maroondah (up 4.7 per cent to 45,000), Whittlesea (up 3.2 per cent to 65,000) and Moonee Valley (up 2.8 per cent to 36,000).
In Brisbane, the South-West News, including its specially-badged Springfield News edition, grew 12.5 per cent to 54,000 readers per average weekly issue. The total Pine Rivers Press including North Lakes Times editions also gained readers (up 8.1 per cent to 40,000), as did the Noosa News (up 5.9 per cent to 36,000) and Ipswich Advertiser (up 5.8 per cent to 55,000).
Just dipping below 100,000, Brisbane News remains the most-read Community publication in the area (down 7.5 per cent to 99,000) ahead of Albert & Logan News (down 6.7 per cent to 83,000) and the Southern Star (down 9.2 per cent to 79,000).
In Perth, the stand-out performer over the past year is the Hills/Avon Valley Gazette (up 13.3 per cent to 51,000), with only three other titles making gains: the Perth Voice (up 5.0 per cent to 42,000), the Echo and Sound Telegraph (both up 4.9 per cent to 43,000).
In Adelaide, the combined reach of the many Messengers declined only 1.7 pe cent overall, making it the best performing city for Community newspaper readership. The City North Messengers rose 14.7% to 39,000, ahead of the Northern Messenger (up 10.0 percent to 88,000) and East Torrens Messenger (up 6.9 percent to 31,000), largely offsetting the falls across other titles.
To view the complete list of Australian Community Newspaper Readership results, click here.