The Australian Financial Review records biggest readership growth, defying trends


The Australian Financial Review records biggest readership growth, defying trends
- 18th April 2017

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The Financial Review's monthly digital audience on afr.com grew 9 per cent to 855,000, in February, the masthead's biggest monthly digital audience other than last year's federal budget-related May result. Dominic Lorrimer


by AFR

The Australian Financial Review began the working year with the biggest readership growth of any national and metropolitan traditional news masthead, confirming the strength of its business model.

Defying falling readership for most other titles, the Financial Review's monthly audience bounced back from the seasonal holiday lull to reach nearly 1.7 million in February, up 5 per cent on the same month last year.

Print readership edged down less than 1 per cent through the year to 939,000, according to Enhanced Media Metrics Australia's latest monthly report released late last week.

But the Financial Review's digital audience on afr.com grew 9 per cent to 855,000 in February, the masthead's biggest monthly digital audience other than last year's federal budget-related May result.

The monthly print and digital audience of the other national daily masthead, News Corp Australia's loss-making The Australian, fell 4 per cent in February compared with a year before, according to the EMMA results.

The Financial Review's editor-in-chief, Michael Stutchbury, said the masthead's strong beginning to 2017 was the result of its newsroom focus on its core target audience as reflected in the revived marketing line, "the daily habit of successful people".

"The Financial Review's audience is not as large as some other newspaper titles and pure digital news plays," Mr Stutchbury said.

"But our audience is typically more valuable because it is more loyal and engaged rather than casual or fly-by. That repeat readership supports the healthy growth in Financial Review paying subscribers that holds up our premium business model compared with news outlets reliant on search or social media sharing for audience."

The Financial Review's higher income "daily habit" audience was also attractive to advertisers, Mr Stutchbury said.

Although most traditional media are experiencing double-digit declines in advertising revenue, the Financial Review's ad revenue is holding up.

Since the strong February start to the working year, the Financial Review has entrenched its agenda-setting status with its successful Business Summit and Banking & Wealth Summit.

This month, the 2017 Citi Journalism Awards for Excellence was won jointly by the Financial Review's deputy Chanticleer columnist, Michael Smith, and Shanghai-based China columnists Angus Grigg and Lisa Murray.

Highlighting the depth of the masthead's journalism, Jessica Sier won the Economics award.

(The Australian Financial Review)