Australia’s news media sector has held its audience growth from 2017, with NewsMediaWorks’ latest emma data revealing 16.5 million people read news media in February 2018.
Australia’s news media audience grew 2% in 2017 for the second consecutive year, and that audience has now held through January and into February 2018.
Print newspaper audiences remained stable in February – 12.5 million or 68% of the population. Meanwhile, 74% of the population (13.6 million) consumed news media on digital devices like smartphones, tablets or laptops.
National news media was consumed by 2.5 million people in February, while metro news media saw 10.3 million readers over the period.
Regional and community news brands are read by 35% of the population or 6.4 million.
NewsMediaWorks CEO Peter Millar says consumer trust of the news media also carries over to the advertising within it, especially amid the current Facebook data controversies.
“The overwhelming degradation of trust being confronted by Facebook over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which now has the attention of the Australian Privacy Commissioner, is certain to fuel consumer and advertiser mistrust of social media platforms,” he said.
“The lack of trust in social media was highlighted in an Australian study which found that social media was the only channel where more consumers mistrusted content that those few that trusted it. Social media also ranked last for consumer trust in ads. This is where news media stands tall as the most trusted media for consumers for both content and ads of any media channel.
“Coupled with news media’s audience gains, trust will play an even more significant role now in how Australians choose to consume news and information. Advertisers, seeking brand-safe environments, are following suit.”
The emma data showed that the consumer trust in news media has made readers brand advocates for a variety of products and services, including travel and auto. For example, 3.8 million readers (23%) encouraged other people to buy travel products and services based on their own experience. For the automotive sector, 3.2 million (19%) encouraged others to buy, while in financial products and services the figure is 1.8 million (11%).
The Sydney Morning Herald was Australia’s highest-reaching title across all platforms in February 2018, with 5.1 million readers. The Daily Telegraph followed, reaching 3.84 million readers, and the Herald Sun on 3.78 million (see table below).