Australian Newsagency Blog

A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Australians prefer print magazines to websites

Mark Fletcher
December 18th, 2013 · 16 Comments

In excellent news for magazine publishers and magazine-specialist newsagents Roy Morgan today published research results today indicating that Australians prefer engaging in print magazines in the home and garden space over websites. The release starts with:

So much for websites poaching readers from print publications: when it comes to magazines, at least, many titles are thriving. Take home and garden magazines, a category spanning publications such as Home BeautifulHouse & Garden and Real Living, for example. In the last month, 16% of Australians (or more than 3 million people) read a home and garden magazine — double the 8% who visited a website from this category.

When you get a moment, read the whole release and understand more about the opportunity for us.


Category: magazines · Newsagency opportunities

16 responses so far ↓

  • 1 John Fitzpatrick // Dec 18, 2013 at 10:06 PM


    I’m not surprised print still has a long way to run, recently I purchased a newspaper digital subscription – since taking out the sub haven’t looked at it for 2 weeks too slow to load, not as friendly as a newspaper, the list could go on.

    I think the real problem is publishers/editors have forgotten where their real readership is – print, circulation is under pressure – but is it really? Just maybe if all the freebies are removed a true audit figure, becomes the starting point.

    In SA before migration there was a feeling, just from talking at newsagent meetings that HD newsagents could reduce audit figures overnight by 10-15% how?

    By STOPPING all readers whose accounts were overdue. The question is, is circulation down due to publishers reducing/cutting out freebies and suspending accounts that are overdue?

    Sure advertising $$$ are hard to find and cost pressures are rising but people will pay for quality content.

    Happy Christmas to all and may we all enjoy a bumper trading year in 2014



  • 2 Jarryd Moore // Dec 19, 2013 at 3:08 AM


    The problem for newspapers is more one of revenue than readers.

    Some people will pay for quality news. However data from other countries show a dramatic increase in cover price has a significant negative effect on circulation. A drop in circulation would initiate a further drop in ad revenue. This is where the problem lies. A major newspaper could still have a seemingly large number of readers but not be profitable because it can’t raise enough revenue through either sales or advertising.

    Are you viewing your subscription on your PC or via a mobile device. The latter is where the future of news and journalism lies. Some of the apps are terrible and show a clear lack of vision and understanding of how people consume digital content. Some, like the ABC app are better but still need improvement. There are some good third party aggregation apps (although these have some limitations).


  • 3 Jarryd Moore // Dec 19, 2013 at 3:22 AM

    Interesting research. There are a vast number of possible contributing factors to this.

    I would imagine that for magazines in the home and gardens segment, the median/average target audience is likely to be older than other categories, reflecting the different life stages of different age demographics and the much higher percentage of younger people that don’t own their own home.

    There is also possibly the “tangible” factor. Home and garden topics are often DIY. People may respond better to a tangible print product in this category because (in their mind) it has a stronger subconscious association with the physical work involved in the subject.

    There is also the relative lack of major online home and garden sites. The most popular sites are actually those of the magazines. Other categories have a number of very well known flagship websites that this category doesn’t. So it might not be that people don’t want to go online, it may simply be a lack of accessible or quality content.

    None of this is to say that the research doesn’t highlight an opportunity – it does. We just need to be mindful that it doesn’t indicate that people won’t move to online content in the future. They will – and we still need to prepare for that.


  • 4 John Fitzpatrick // Dec 19, 2013 at 3:42 AM


    Viewing the digital on an iPad and Samsung Tab3 10.1 I disagree if the future is mobile devices newspaper publishers are stuffed.

    Sure publishers need to ensure they have a digital presence – BUT it’s the print for the next 15 to 30 years is where the real money will still be, yes less, they need to be smarter – look at News re embracing print customers after the disaster of the previous 15 months.

    Newspapers need to re position themselves so if there is a drop in circulation (hence advertising $$) the quality of the journalism will create the demand for the higher priced newspaper.

    I was recently offered a New York Times digital Subscription for .99 cents for 3 months! I said no too expensive!

    Watch what happens to Facebook with the announcement of inserting paid video adverts. It’s even better you will unknowingly download the video file via your home/office WiFi then played at Facebook’s pleasure!

    Advertiser’s think it’s wonderful – but only if it translates into sales – it won’t I hope.

    Jarryd, thanks for your comments, maybe I’m just a daydreamer who still believes in print.



  • 5 Mark Fletcher // Dec 19, 2013 at 7:22 AM

    The magazines most at risk are those with a short life-span and content that quickly loses relevance.


  • 6 June // Dec 19, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    Jarryd, I don’t know why you cop flak on this blog sometimes because I think you
    have a most reasoned and reasonable approach to our industry.
    John, you should contribute more here because I know you are a guru with IT and
    with distribution.
    When you guys interact it gives the rest of
    us food for thought (even if I have sold my distribution round)


  • 7 Jarryd Moore // Dec 19, 2013 at 12:25 PM


    I would not imagine print lasting another 15-30 years. Maybe in smaller niche publications with very high quality content – but certainly not in mass market titles.

    Just 15 years ago most Australian’s didn’t have the internet, smart phones where still 6 years away. Tablets were only released just over 3 years ago.

    Comparatively I haven’t actively read a newspaper in about 3 years. My news comes almost exclusively online via a combination of mobile devices and my laptop. I use both apps, a web browser, Facebook and Twitter to discover news.

    There is also the possibility that print will fall and digital media will not have found a profitable business model. It may be that digital media can only exist as a cost neutral or philanthropic operation. I see this as a real possibility.


  • 8 Jarryd Moore // Dec 19, 2013 at 12:34 PM


    I agree. Those magazines have been in danger for some time. There are a number of digital media enterprises that have been in that space for quiet some time – celebrity, gossip, short-shelf-life news, etc. – they are definitely the most in danger.

    Look how quickly buy/sell title sales either fell or were axed once online classifieds found their feet. Racing/betting publications – the same thing.


  • 9 DAVID // Dec 19, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    Why have my Racing/ betting plus trader tag on the way up tv soap going good best year ever for partworks all doom


  • 10 Russell // Dec 19, 2013 at 10:01 PM

    I use twitter, radio, TV etc. for headline news. I read the paper for more in depth analysis, understanding and comment of an event that has occurred. Newspapers cannot compete with technology as ‘headline grabbers’ in this day and age but can survive by providing the reader with quality graphic detail, journalism and comment on events that have transpired.


  • 11 Amanda // Dec 19, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    Still waiting for the day a Newspaper in Australia produces an article with quality journalism.

    Australian newspapers are full of celebrity gossip, and this extends to politics and sport.


  • 12 DAVID // Dec 20, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    Russell you have hit the nail on the head right on


  • 13 Jarryd Moore // Dec 20, 2013 at 3:16 PM


    I see FAR more in depth articles on the net than are in newspapers. The articles you read in a newspaper are almost certainly also reproduced on the newspapers website. Then there is all the additional content – video, links, interactive data.

    There are also a plethora of non-newspaper sites such as Crikey, The Guardian and the ABC that all have a large number of long format or essay style articles.


  • 14 DAVID // Dec 20, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    Crikey Guardian A B C all left wing crap


  • 15 mc // Dec 25, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    The problem with falling newspaper profitability is less about falling sales than online advertising typically being much more cost effective than print advertising. This is unlikely to change.

    If journalism is to continue, people will have to start directly paying what it is worth, rather than via the goods and services they purchase from advertisers.


  • 16 mc // Dec 25, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    The problem with falling newspaper profitability is less about falling sales than online advertising typically being much more cost effective than print advertising. This is unlikely to change.

    If journalism is to continue, people will have to start directly paying what it is worth, rather than via the goods and services they purchase from advertisers.


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