Pretty quickly if the latest circulation figures are to be taken as an accurate guide.
Australian Bureau of Circulation figures for the September 2012 quarter revealed the following:
- The 27th
consecutive quarterly decline in print newspaper circulation (metro
dailies fell 6.5%, average national down 5.5%)
- The Herald Sun weekday decline was 21.3%, The Age
weekday drop (from a lower base) was 16.91%, The Saturday Age fell
15.1%, The Sydney Morning Herald weekday average was down 15.1% and
the Saturday edition fell 15.9%. The Weekend Australian held up
comparably well with only a 5.6% decline as did the weekday AFR
- The only newspaper to improve its circulation was the weekday The West Australian which added 0.7% to its readership although its Saturday edition dropped 5.3%
Digital sales are still tiny (14,920 for The Age, 26,091 for the SMH and 27,796 for the weekday edition of The Australian) but the industry is doing its best to put a glossy shine on everything. The CEO of the industry body, The Newspaper Works, Tony Hale, enthused; ‘The multi-platform publishing strategies being pursued by the major newspaper publishers have produced a very promising picture of newspaper circulations'.
In all this feel-good spin, nobody mentioned the awkward six letter word ... profit.
Meanwhile former print media journalists and editors such as Eric Beecher (Crikey), Amanda Gome (Smart Company), Mia Freedman (Mama Mia) and Alan Kohler (Business Spectator) have stolen the march on their former employers with online publishing business models that actually make money.
I wonder if Tom Waterhouse would frame a market on which major daily newspaper will be the first one to stop printing a Monday-to-Friday edition?