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Australians embrace online news

News, 21 January 2016

SYDNEY: Australia's news readership is increasingly mobile-centric, a new study has found.

New Enhanced Media Metrics Australia data confirms that smartphones are continuing to grow as a platform of choice for Australian news readers.

They were, in fact, the fastest growing platform for news media in 2015. Readership on smartphone devices increased 8% to 3.6m.

Though mobile-centric devices are on the rise, the majority of digital access still takes place via a computer or laptop – 9.8m readers regularly access news content from their desk. Tablet-optimized news apps are also performing well, with tablet readership now at 3m.

Overall, an estimated 11.6m – about half of all Australians – are now accessing news via digital channels.

Despite digital's ongoing growth, print is still the preferred medium for newspaper readers with 13.8m Australians reading print mastheads in November 2015. More than three quarters – 77% - of Australians read newspapers every month with total newspaper readership estimated at 16.4m.

However, print sales are continuing to decline.

The increasing popularity of digital platforms also reflects the rise of online-only news platforms such as Buzzfeed, and the popularity of social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter as news sources has opened up new opportunities for innovation within the sector.

Many younger readers in particular are just as likely to scan an article shared on Twitter during their morning commute as they are to sit down with a newspaper. As newspapers compete within a 24-hour news cycle, strengthening mobile and digital offerings has been key.

The Sydney Morning Herald is the country's most-read publication across all platforms with an estimated 4.9m readers. SMH.com.au achieved 13% year-on-year growth in mobile and tablet audience for the latest survey period.

Data sourced from B&T Magazine, Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by Warc staff