Friday, 17 August 2012

The daily newspaper

I like to start my day reading the newspaper as I have breakfast.     But I see the circulation figures published a recently show that the circulation of just about every mainstream daily newspaper in Australia declined in the 3 months to the end of June.  Apparently, Monday to Friday figures for the Age fell by 14% (year-on-year), and the equivalent figure for the Herald-Sun was 5.1%.  For some reason, the Australian's fall was less, at 0.7%.

One report that I read attributed the fall in the Age's circulation to "raising cover prices and weeding out loss-making and marginal sales" (whatever this may mean).    From a personal perspective, my impression is that the well-publicised cost reductions at the Age have resulted in a noticeable decline in standards and an increase in sensationalism.  Perhaps this is being reflected in the figures? 

Given that I can't quite contemplate a digital world where I read the news on a tablet or e-reader of some kind as I digest my muesli, I am concerned about the future.   I hope that there will be a place for quality print media (not just freebies like mX) for some time yet.  I note that newspapers such as the Canberra Times and the Mercury manage to survive on circulation figures far lower than the Age is likely to descend to in the foreseeable future (even if there are aspects of these papers that are less than perfect), and my newsagent has a range of ethnic papers (at least one of which is daily, Monday to Saturday) that presumably have even lower circulation figures.   So perhaps with some adjustment, survival is not inconsistent with the maintenance of at least a degree of quality.  But I worry that the Age isn't listening.
EDIT 18 August:  I see that the price of the Saturday Age has today been increased to $3, and that the price of the Herald-Sun has increased as well.


  1. I have made the digital jump with a deal that includes the Saturday print OZ.
    After,not with, breakfast . Works reasonably but you have to hunt for what you want because is sectional in iPad app and topical on the standard web view, not facsimile pages.

  2. A father on a visit to his son and daughter-in-law asked if they had a newspaper. "Dad," scoffed the son, "this is the 21st century. We don't waste money on newspapers anymore. Here, use my iPad."

    I can tell you, that bloody fly never knew what hit him.....