CWD readership continues to fall
While speculation continues about the future of Fairfax owned regional newspapers, including the Central Western Daily in Orange, the latest audited figures do nothing to bolster any hopes of a revival.
In fact, the latest audited figures for newspaper sales continue to show how paid newspapers like the Central Western Daily remain in rapid decline.
The June 30th report shows the CWD weekday sales dropped 11% to 1953, below 2,000 for the first time. The Saturday edition dropped even more by 14% to 3351 copies. Based on accepted industry practice this means that the CWD has around lost around a further 500 readers each weekday and over 1,100 each Saturday since December 2017.
Falling numbers like this are not just appearing in Orange but other Fairfax run newspapers across the country. The Dubbo Daily Liberal weekday sales dropped by 242 to just 1182, while the Western Advocate in Bathurst dropped 231 to 1722.
Industry analysts are divided on what the future may hold, however one thing appears clear. Based on newspaper sales figures across the Nation over the last 10 years, the general public continues to show its reluctance in wanting to pay for a printed newspaper, especially with so much news available free from other sources.
What complicates matters is that there is also plenty of evidence that many people still want to get their news and many still enjoy reading a hard copy printed newspaper. The evidence for this is in the number or readers that access free online news services, including the Central Western Daily’s free news site and the ongoing strong pick-up rate for free independent publications like Orange City Life, Dubbo Photo News and Bathurst City Life. These three alone have either held their circulation and readership or actually increased it over recent years. 13,500 copies of Orange City Life, 12,000 copies of Bathurst City Life and 13,000 copies of Dubbo Photo News are produced and picked up by locals in each City each week, roughly 5 to 6 times as many as the Fairfax dailies in each centre.
A ruling on the Fairfax/Nine merger is expected by early November so what happens to Fairfax’s regional newspapers is expected to become clearer after that, if not earlier.