Anyone in the corporate communications sector will have seen the dramatic changes that have occurred in the industry as a result of digital communications. Whereas printed newspapers used to be the focus of a business's corporate affairs efforts, the growth of online sites has fragmented the way individuals receive news.
This in turn has seen consistently declining numbers of newspaper readers, even as news outlets have moved into online publications. That trend appears to be reversing though, at least according to the most recent figures from Enhanced Media Metrics Australia, published by The Newspaper Works.
The figures track the number of Australians reading content published by a newspaper, revealing this sector has grown by 2 per cent in the last 12 months.
Driving this growth has been a dramatic increase in the number of people using mobile devices to access news sites. The number of smartphone users reading newspaper articles has increased to 14 per cent, while tablet access grew by 9 per cent.
In total, the data predicts that 11.4 million Australians are now accessing newspaper stories digitally – across desktops, smartphones and tablets. Interestingly, these figures are below the number of people reading print media – which sits at 14.2 million readers. Across both digital and print, 92 per cent of Australians over the age of 14 are reading some form of newspaper content.
The study also indicated some of the differences between regional papers and national ones. Unsurprisingly, newspapers in the smaller states and territories have lower readership, but are also reaching a higher percentage of locals.
Across all states and territories, Tasmania has the highest levels of print media, while The Northern Territory is the most digital-savvy.
The Newspaper Works CEO Mark Hollands emphasised the important role newspapers are continuing to play in Australia's journalism landscape.
"People are checking their smartphones up to 150 times a day and this is where newspapers play a vital role, with readers turning to trusted sources for breaking news and information on the go, wherever they are," stated Mr Hollands.