Print and Online Readership and circulation in 2017

The 2017 Print and Online Readership and Circulation figures are out…and it is pretty dire reading for media companies.

In 2017, NZME and Fairfax continued to have a duopoly control over the New Zealand print newspaper market, and they dominated online news market. The combined market share of Fairfax and NZME newspapers was 89.3 percent (of which Fairfax’s market share was 45.9 percent and NZME’s 43.4 percent). Allied Press had an 8.4 percent market share (Molineaux et al., 2016). The two companies leading weekday newspapers included The New Zealand Herald (NZME), The Dominion Post (Fairfax), The Press (Fairfax) and the Otago Daily Times (Allied Press).

In 2017, both NZME and Fairfax Media reported declines in print revenue and growth in digital revenue. In the first half of 2017, NZME profit fell 87 percent to $7.8 million from the first half of 2016. The drop was partly due to the cost of the company’s separation from Australian APN News and Media. In the first half of 2017, NZME’s revenue fell three percent to $189 million from the same period in 2016. Earnings from the print papers declined four percent, but the digital revenue increased 20 percent (from 2016 to 2017 for the same six months) (NZME, 2017b). NZME chief executive Michael Boggs commented that “digital is obviously a key revenue growing stream for us”, but said that print remained an important part of NZME’s business because “the print pays a lot of the bills today” (Gray, 2017).

In August, Fairfax reported that its full year revenue for the financial year 2017 had declined 4.8 percent to A$1.7 billion from the previous year. The company made an A$84 million profit compared to an A$773 million loss in 2016 (Fairfax Media, 2017c). Fairfax chief executive managing director Greg Hywood declared that “Fairfax is in great shape. We have delivered strong value for shareholders through growth and transformation initiatives” (Fairfax Media, 2017c). Fairfax New Zealand revenue was down seven percent: digital revenue grew 29 percent, but circulation revenue declined five percent. Hywood said that “our New Zealand business has the tremendous digital growth platform of Stuff at its core” (Fairfax Media, 2017c). Nevertheless, in September the company

Good on digital, but dropping like a stone in print. But if you look deeper into digital, you can see that it isn’t as rosy as they claim.

In New Zealand, revenue from Stuff (formerly Fairfax New Zealand Media) was down ten percent (Fairfax Media, 2017d). However, Fairfax’s digital real estate listing service Domain saw total revenue growing 13 percent and digital revenue 22 percent from June to September 2017 (Fairfax Media, 2017d).

They aren’t earning money from news, they are earning money from real estate agents, who no doubt pass that onto home owners.

The report authors talk about blogs, and this one in particular, quoting extensively from Nicky Hager.

In August 2017, Nicky Hager observed that the Whale Oil blog, which “not long ago [was] so influential, is now “diminished” (Hager, 2017). He noted that “there is hardly a single journalist left who would take stories off the dirty politics bloggers. Cameron Slater and the Whale Oil blog still exist, but they have shrunk back to the margins of politics” (Hager, 2017).

This report is could not possibly be described as fair and balanced because they never bothered to contact me to ask about Hager’s comments. For the record, my traffic is higher now than before Dirty Politics, and I’m not sure how Nicky Hager can claim that “there is hardly a single journalist left who would take stories off the dirty politics bloggers.”. He certainly doesn’t have access to my phone records that would prove that to be a lie. As for shrinking back to the margins of politics, that claim is again farcical. My site has higher traffic than all other blogs in the top 100 combined and it exceeds the much vaunted and well resourced Newsroom site by a considerable margin. It is simply another false claim by Nicky Hager, but the fact the reports authors didn’t even bother to contact me for comment tells you more about their and the report’s bias than it does about anything else.

My subscriber base, my readership would be the envy of many of the print publications listed above. Unlike print media my audience is growing.

 

-AUT’s research center for Journalism, Media and Democracy (JMAD)

 


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