In the new AMPS 2012AB results from Saarf, the total newspaper figures remain stable. The new Saarf results concentrate on fieldwork that was done from January to December 2012 with a sample size of 25 108.
On the whole, daily newspaper readership figures remain stable and weekly newspaper figures are down. However, many of the Media24 titles, both daily and weekly either remain stable or increase their readership, indicating that the a drop in circulation, does not necessarily mean that the titles are not being read.
An excellent example of this is the Daily Sun whose readership is down only 0.1% in 2012 compared to 2011 AMPS results. We are delighted to see the stability in the Daily Sun readership figures. Whilst circulation remains challenging and the current economic conditions are not working in our favour, it’s clear that our reach into the mass market remains unrivalled.
The Daily Sun reader is still fiercely loyal and continues to engage with the people’s paper daily and in their millions! For me, it’s essential that these readership numbers are used when evaluating a product, looking at circulation figures in isolation does not tell the full story. Readership and market penetration consideration is crucial to fully understand the role a title plays in the lives of their readers. Ads24, the national sales and trade marketing division for Media24, will generally use readership and circulation figures in their communications with media agencies.
Readership figures of Media24 daily newspapers on the whole increased and some quite substantially. Die Burger is up by 9% (YOY) and Die Burger – Sake 24 is up by an impressive 15.4% (YOY). Although Die Burger’s circulation shows that the title is down by 1% (YOY). Mark Herman, general manager of Son and Die Burger says, “9% is a significant increase! We are truly delighted that the demand for the paper is there and evident to see, in a time when many would have us believe that the future of newspapers is bleak, the numbers indicate that with relevance and by being in tune with one’s target audience the growth opportunities are there for the taking”.
Son is also stable with a YOY variance in readership of 0.5%. Herman says the Son’s numbers are stable, “indicating that the appetite for Son is still as strong as ever, the paper continues to deliver in meeting the needs and expectations of its readers and remains relevant to the Coloured working class community of the Cape”.
The Witness also has a noteworthy increase on YOY variance by 12.6% on readership figures whereas its circulation shows a 6.2% (YOY) drop.
Weekly and Sunday Media24 titles also fare well, on the whole, with City Press readership increased from 1 746 000 to 1 757 000 (0.6% growth), while circulation is down 15% (YOY). Most notably, the demographic profile of this title is shifting to a higher income bracket, LSM 8-10 is up significantly and LSM 1-4 is down. In addition, it is fast becoming a more racially diverse offering, Indian readership was up by 7000, white readership is up by 2000 and coloured readership is up by 9000. City Press also has an increase of 20 000HH and the reach has grown with an increase of readers in the Eastern Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal and Mpumalanga.
The Sunday Sun has an increase in readership of 1.6% with readership increasing from 2,567,000 in 2011 to 2 608 000 in 2012, while circulation shows a drop of 13% (YOY). The title is attracting more young black readers, aged 15-24 and on the whole, there is an increase in readers aged 25-49. The Sunday Sun is becoming a favoured offering for higher earners, with increases in the readership of LSM 5-7 and LSM 8-10. Geographically, Kwa-Zulu Natal and Mpumalanga have more readers of The Sunday Sun in 2012.
The comparison between readership and circulation figures is therefore fairly closely aligned for some titles and for others shows a large variance. The demographic data of the readers and the trended stability of the readership figures sometimes necessitate the consideration of readership figures as circulation does not in itself give an accurate representation.
Minette Ferreira is the general manager of English Titles (including The Daily Sun), The Beeld, Rapport, at Media 24