Fairfax Metro Media Audience Report - May 2012

May 11, 2012 - Fairfax Media Metro Division today published its Audience Report (FMMAR) for the March quarter. This is the second quarterly publication of the FMMAR, an initiative launched in February 2012 to provide a 'dashboard' presentation of the Metro Division's audiences across platforms.

"We now manage our business on a multi-platform basis, and comprehensive audience measurement across all our platforms is critical to providing our stakeholders with a complete picture of the evolution of audience engagement with our major Metro Media brands," CEO Fairfax Metro Media, Jack Matthews said.

During the March quarter, Fairfax Metro Media commenced implementation of initiatives supporting a strategic focus on sustainable and profitable print edition circulation. This involves renewed concentration on high-quality, engaged newspaper audiences. One element of this strategy is a revised approach to managing circulation in the education channel, where Metro Media's subscriptions now encourage a shift from print to digital editions in the secondary school market.

Additional circulation initiatives contributing to a planned reduction in print edition sales include lowering distribution through the community events channel, and the progressive withdrawal of offers where a newspaper is included as a bundled, discounted, secondary item with another purchase (eg. at the supermarket, car wash or gym).

Highlights from the March quarter include:

  • Continued growth in a loyal audience base who consume both newspapers and websites for each masthead. When compared with the same period last year, the number of readers
  • Consuming both The Sydney Morning Herald and smh.com.au has increased by 11%. Similarly, readers consuming both The Age and theage.com.au have increased by 7%.
  • Fairfax Metro Media newspaper audiences are increasingly loyal to our mastheads. The proportion of metropolitan newspaper readers only consuming a Fairfax publication is higher than last year. Increases in loyalty were most evident on a Saturday in Sydney, when 82% of The Sydney Morning Herald readers did not read any other Saturday newspaper (up from 80% last year) and on a Sunday in Melbourne, when 80% of The Sunday Age readers did not read the other Sunday paper (up from 77% last year).
  • Strong year-on-year growth in audience accessing Fairfax Metro Media mastheads through mobile sites. Traffic to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age mobile sites increased strongly in the March quarter, with daily unique browsers up by 102% and 77% respectively.
  • Cumulative tablet downloads total nearly 500,000 across The Sydney Morning Herald and The
  • Age.
  • Publication for the first time of Audit Bureau of Circulations data for total paid masthead sales, aggregating both print and digital replica editions and with duplicates removed. Digital replica editions are an increasingly popular way for audiences to engage with Fairfax Metro Media mastheads, and The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age are among the first publishers to provide data on this highly functional alternative to print. This data provides another tool for period-on-period comparisons of print circulation.
  • "We've said before that Fairfax journalism is reaching a larger audience than ever before. What this report shows is that our strategic focus on sustainable and profitable circulation for our print platform is not impeding the ability of our mastheads to continue the growth of our total audience," Matthews said.

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