The imploding Canberra Times?

johnboy 17 August 2009 34

[First filed: August 15, 2009 @ 13:09]

A copy of the latest Roy Morgan readership survey has drifted across my desk. The numbers are for the year ending June 2009.

The survey did come with a note that part way through the year the methodology changed to only reflect readership of the dead tree publication. So some drop off was to be expected.

Even so the Canberra Times’ readership slump has to be considered alarming for anyone who cares about this town’s largest media outlet.

A drop from a “readership” (already a suspect concept IMHO) of 110,000 to 84,000 for the Monday to Friday edition? That’s the best part of a quarter!

The Saturday and Sunday editions also dropped but not by the same degree.

One wonders if they’ve discounted their ad rates to reflect this decline?

Perhaps it’s time they stopped treating their website as an afterthought? As it happens there’s a rather good local website editor looking for work at the moment.

(If you’re having trouble reading the numbers click on the image for a bigger one)


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34 Responses to The imploding Canberra Times?
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jackal jackal 11:04 pm 21 Aug 09

Ned said :

The trouble with the Crimes is that it’s much like Canbetrra itself. It doesn’t quite know what it is. Is it a small town rag trying to be grown up or a grown up rag trying to service a small town? The former, I think. Frankly, it would be better off being like the Illawarra Mercury or the Newcastle Herald and leaving the national and international stuff for the grown-ups to report.

And, I agree, its website is a bloody disgrace. Haven’t the fiscal clowns who own the Crimes woken up that there is plenty of money to be made from a good website?

On the last point, no newspaper in Australia, and very few in the world, are making money from their websites. For various reasons advertisers don’t pay anywhere near the same for online ads as they do for print, tv and radio ads (as I’m sure this site can relate to). There’s no profit to be made at the moment from online news sites, all the smh, Age, News Ltd sites are subsidised by the print product, which is why Rupert is phasing in user-pays for News Ltd sites, and the rest of the media is watching with interest.

sunshine sunshine 1:13 am 19 Aug 09

MelonHead said :

” specially on a crapped bus ” from #24.

Sorry, I just had this visual flash about one of the green and white ACTION buses, with a huge brown stain on the road (Limestone Ave, for some reason) behind it. And a passenger yelling, “It’s ok, I have a Canberra Times here. That will clean up the mess!”

But back on topic, the CT doesn’t enrich the average person’s life, and the earlier comment about accountants etc. is just so true that it is disturbing….

of course i meant crammed…….but kinda like your explanation much better

Ned Ned 12:29 pm 18 Aug 09

The trouble with the Crimes is that it’s much like Canbetrra itself. It doesn’t quite know what it is. Is it a small town rag trying to be grown up or a grown up rag trying to service a small town? The former, I think. Frankly, it would be better off being like the Illawarra Mercury or the Newcastle Herald and leaving the national and international stuff for the grown-ups to report.

And, I agree, its website is a bloody disgrace. Haven’t the fiscal clowns who own the Crimes woken up that there is plenty of money to be made from a good website?

Jerry Atric Jerry Atric 3:58 pm 17 Aug 09

I am afraid that I am addicted to hugging a dead tree with my morning coffee even though I despair at the CT content and the fixation for a large irrelevant picture on the front page. I guess that like other people I read the letters more closely than anything else, and SHE has become addicted to Sudoku. The sunday edition is a complete waste of dead trees. It also seems that the Violantes have taken over, and we can expect more as they have increased their family (sigh).

AND I discover that R S Gilbert is even older than I am!

eh_steve eh_steve 3:47 pm 17 Aug 09

Reading further, the Fin Review actually had the biggest drop in sales of any publication, dropping 8%!

That certainly is far more stinging than an increase in readership, the figures seem to speak to the hazy nature of measuring readership more than anything else.

eh_steve eh_steve 3:07 pm 17 Aug 09

Grey’s ‘eye on media’ paints a slightly less dire picture, showing a .09% drop for M-F, (a drop of exactly 30 copies), and a 3% drop in sales for Saturday.

Sunday actually saw an increase, defying the national trend.

On paper, this isn’t quite as stinging as a 25% drop in readership, which is quite a difficult thing to measure.

MsCheeky MsCheeky 11:38 am 17 Aug 09

I still give the CT a look over most days, but I get it for free at work. I do remember the days when I used to enjoy reading it, when it really lived up to its slogan. It was interesting, informative and had some real talent writing for it. I agree now that it is largely just printing stuff from elsewhere. It is very tedious to pick up the different daily papers and read identical copy, or copy that you read on the web yesterday.

The website is an absolute joke, and I just don’t bother with it.

pug206gti pug206gti 8:51 am 17 Aug 09

Explains why they keep ringing me as a former Saturday only subscriber with near-free deals to take out a week long subscription. I don’t hate trees enough to go along with it, unfortunately.

MelonHead MelonHead 9:16 pm 16 Aug 09

” specially on a crapped bus ” from #24.

Sorry, I just had this visual flash about one of the green and white ACTION buses, with a huge brown stain on the road (Limestone Ave, for some reason) behind it. And a passenger yelling, “It’s ok, I have a Canberra Times here. That will clean up the mess!”

But back on topic, the CT doesn’t enrich the average person’s life, and the earlier comment about accountants etc. is just so true that it is disturbing….

ChrisinTurner ChrisinTurner 8:33 pm 16 Aug 09

Readership is a very vague unit of measurement. Circulation is what the papers quote. The CT gives away lots of papers to keep their circulation figures nice and high. The last time I worked it out the CT only reaches about one in five of our homes.

sunshine sunshine 8:32 pm 16 Aug 09

apart from the lack of interesting content – the CT is so hard to read, specially on a crapped bus, plane or for the elderly who struggle to turn the huge pages. A complete overhaul is despretly needed

Aeek Aeek 4:41 pm 16 Aug 09

I buy the Times most weekdays for the token local content – I get the rest online anyway.

utah utah 4:36 pm 16 Aug 09

Up The Duffy said :

I would prefer a good on line news service covering all aspects of news, Local, National, International, Tech, My Lifestyle interests! “Are you listening Google”, I want my Customized online News.

If you sign in to Google, it’ll give you a customised news page that takes your preferences into account – i.e. you can blat Entertainment, and give the space to Australian news. I believe it also takes into account your search history, and will rank stories according to your interests.

Ari Ari 3:42 pm 16 Aug 09

Up The Duffy said :

I would prefer a good on line news service covering all aspects of news, Local, National, International, Tech, My Lifestyle interests! “Are you listening Google”, I want my Customized online News.

How about you ask Google to pay for the journalists needed to match your wish list?

Up The Duffy Up The Duffy 2:54 pm 16 Aug 09

I would prefer a good on line news service covering all aspects of news, Local, National, International, Tech, My Lifestyle interests! “Are you listening Google”, I want my Customized online News.

qedbynature qedbynature 2:41 pm 16 Aug 09

I’m surprised that many ppl still read the Grimes, it’s a very small shadow of its former self (and my memory extends beyond the boundaries of the internet age). The demise of newspapers isn’t really news anymore, they are run by accountants to extract the greatest possible return on investment, everything else is incidental and that includes local content (which is predominantly advertising directed at local consumers).

As for their website! Wow!

paperboy paperboy 12:59 pm 16 Aug 09

The Canberra Times’ fall matches (pretty closely) the other Fairfax publications (Age and SMH), with the exception of the Financial Review.

The sooner all three join the FR is going tabloid, the better.

OYM OYM 12:16 pm 16 Aug 09

I really enjoy my morning Canberra Times home delivered. It has a good mix of local and broader news. I’m a big follower of all sorts of internet media, however nothing quite beats a cup of coffee, my brekkie and the morning paper (bought in by the dog!).

There’s not that much going on in Canberra that you could fill the whole Times with local stories, plus it would end up being a little too suburban like the Chronicle.

I’ve been a keen follower of RiotACT for years and there’s certainly a hell of a lot of stories on Riot that have flowed from a CT report.

Full Tilt Full Tilt 10:56 am 16 Aug 09

News papers world wide are suffering a similar fate. The common belief is that the internet is the culprit (which I think is true).

I’m guessing eReaders might be a saving grace for the news papers. Here’s an article that explains why this might be the case: http://www.businessinsider.com/2009/1/printing-the-nyt-costs-twice-as-much-as-sending-every-subscriber-a-free-kindle

Mind you, people are not going to pay for digital news if the quality of the writing and analysis and content are sub-standard

Anna Key Anna Key 6:54 am 16 Aug 09

Possibly due to people cutting back on expenses due to the economic climate? While not expensive, CT is a luxury that one can do without. But it does need to solve its identitiy crisis on whther it wants to be a proper broadsheet or simply a larger version of the Chronicle.

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