Launch of new digital sites for three Stuff newspapers has put new Roy Morgan readership data dramatically at variance with Nielsen figures released in June.
New Zealand media company and news website brand Stuff launched individual digital sites for The Post (Wellington), The Press (Christchurch) and the Waikato Times (Hamilton) in April, along with new, subscriber-only websites for the titles.
Nielsen put Stuff’s reach across print and digital at 3.4 million New Zealanders a month, when it published figures in June.
But new Roy Morgan figures for the 12 months to June – which do not include Stuff separately – present a different picture, hailing NZME’s New Zealand Herald as the country’s most widely read publication with a total cross-platform audience of only 1.747 million, which it says is “almost five times as many as the second placed Dominion Post with a readership of 363,000”.
Roy Morgan puts the independently-owned Otago Daily Times in third place with 264,000, followed by Stuff’s The Press (250,000) and Waikato Times (203,000). Stuff.co.nz itself is not listed.
The survey found that nearly two-thirds of New Zealanders aged 14 or over (2.76 million of them) read or access newspapers in an average seven-day period via print or online (website or app) platforms, and 1.69 million read magazines.
It describes Stuff’s the Southland Times (up 35.1 per cent to 104,000) as “the big improver”, while noting that the Waikato Times grew 8.6 per cent, and the Taranaki Daily News – also owned by Stuff – was up 5.1 per cent to 124,000.
Other newspapers to increase their total cross-platform audiences during 2022-23 included the Manawatu Standard (Stuff), up 22,000 (23.4 per cent) to 116,000, the Rotorua Daily Post (NZME), up 8,000 (8.2 per cent) to 105,000, the Sunday News (Stuff), up 17,000 (22.7 per cent) to 92,000, the Nelson Mail (Stuff), up 7,000 (9.3 per cent) to 82,000, the Gisborne Herald (privately-owned), up 1000 (1.4 per cent) to 71,000 and the privately-owned Ashburton Guardian, also up 1000 (2.5 per cent) to 41,000.
Stuff executive chair and publisher Sinead Boucher – who bought the former Fairfax Media subsidiary in May 2020 for NZ$1 (A$0.92) – told GXpress the anomalies were likely because the other titles have a direct title-to-title digital companion to their print title.
Pictured: Sinead Boucher (left) with editor of The Post (formerly Dominion Post) Caitlin Cherry; (below) Roy Morgan illustrated their story with this picture of an elderly wheelchair user completing a puzzle in a printed newspaper