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Quality journalism boosts Aussie news brands

News, 19 August 2016

SYDNEY: Print circulations may be suffering but Australian news brands can take some heart from readership figures which remain steady, new data has shown.

Latest figures from Enhanced Media Metrics Australia, the cross-platform audience insights survey, indicated that, during June, news media readership reached 93% of the adult population; consumption of news media on desktops/laptops, mobiles and tablets reached 73%.

The figures were slightly higher for commuters in major cities, where 94% engaged with news media and digital news media was read by 81%.

The Sydney Morning Herald was Australia's highest-reaching title across all platforms with 6.07m readers, followed by the Daily Telegraph (4.63m), Herald Sun (4.24m), The Age (3.43m), The Australian (3.17m) and the Courier-Mail (3.01m).

"The stability of news media readership … demonstrates that our audience is loyal and engaged with quality, influential and trusted journalism," said Mark Hollands, CEO at industry body NewsMediaWorks.

The same point was made more forcefully by Robert Thomson, CEO of News Corp – whose titles include four of the six titles listed above, the other two (Sydney Morning Herald and The Age) being published by rival Fairfax Media – in an address to Daily Telegraph staff.

"We have to confidently exert the values of all our platforms and our people," he was reported as saying.

"There is a vast cauldron of crap content out there," he added. "It's ladled out liberally by distributors and recyclists who are not environmentally sound but are the news equivalent of strip-miners.

"That is why we have to work so hard to protect our intellectual property and assert…our values and the primacy of acts of creation."

Separately, News Corp's CMO Damian Eales told B&T that print sales had stabilised, adding that it was wrong to describe News Corp as a newspaper business.

"Our business has at its heart content generation and journalism of the highest level," he said." Our focus is very much on publishing that quality journalism whichever platform the reader wishes to consume it."

Data sourced from NewsMediaWorks, B&T, Mumbrella; additional content by Warc staff