Readership or shit reader figures?

media dinkus

In an article published on Monday (pictured) Rupert Murdoch’s vanity publishing venture The Australia told readers it had recorded “a market-defying surge in print readership” in the past year.

1theozcircThe article claimed that interest in the COVID-19 pandemic had caused readership of its weekday print edition to rise by 4.6% to reach 436,000 readers in the year to March and readership of its weekend paper rose by 5.1% to reach 494,000 based on figures by industry measurement body Enhanced Media Metrics Australia.

But wait, what’s that over there? It’s some information recently released by Roy Morgan Research showing that over the same year to March The Oz’s weekday print readership fell from 295,000 to 289,000 and its Saturday edition’s readership dropped from 594,000 to 524,000. Remember these are readership not paid circulation stats.

It’s difficult to work out how one measure sees supposedly the readership of the same weekday paper in the 400,000s while the other has it in only the high 200,000s and both diverge substantially on the weekend edition’s figures too.


But that’s the old print version of The Oz. “What about the digital readership?” we hear you not ask.

Well Monday’s article said the monthly cross-platform readership of The Oz — that’s print edition plus online — was 6.23 million. The print component was claimed to be 4.9 million.

By comparison Roy Morgan published a cross-platform monthly average figure of only 3.97 million for The Oz for January to March.

Once again, which figures do you believe? Do you even care? After all, readership figures only really matter to advertisers wanting to know they are getting some sort of bang for their buck.


Readership figures really started to be given prominence after circulation figures — the hard numbers showing how many punters actually fork out their hard-earned to subscribe to a newspaper or news outlet.

For decades the rule of thumb was that a readership figure for an old-fashioned printed newspaper was found by multiplying its paid circulation by 2.5, based on the idea that it was passed on by its buyer to be read by others.

In more recent years publishers have adopted a multiple of four to reach their readership figure. It’s remarkable that as buyers of hard-copy papers have disappeared, reader numbers have somehow grown?

Apparently the shrinking pool of people making up a circulation figure have been passing on their newspaper to more and more people. Very charitable of them, we think.


1bunningsswereSomeone at Brisbane’s daily The Courier-Mail seemed to be trying a bit too hard with a headline on a story about a woman taking legal action against hardware chain Bunnings in a personal injury case (pictured).

Perhaps they were trying to force a rhyme? But “sewer” in this story refers to the woman’s job as a seamstress so that didn’t work.