The Mail & Guardian‘s readership held fairly steady at about 428 000 during the second half of 2010, the latest data from the South African Advertising Research Foundation (SAARF) shows.
This is in spite of a sharp increase in sales in the past quarter of 2010. The readership figures were calculated from July, before the uptick in sales took place.
Readership is the industry’s measure of how many people read each issue, without necessarily buying it. The paper expects its readership figures to increase in line with circulation figures in the past few months.
The data, which is gathered biannually through the All Media and Products Survey (Amps), a series of face-to-face interviews conducted by the SAARF among a sample of 25 000 adults aged 15 and over, shows that the M&G‘s readership now stands at 428 000, slightly down on the 437 000 figure for June 2010.
Recent data from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, which measures sales figures for print publications, showed that in spite of the downward trend in circulation in the newspaper industry, sales of the M&G increased 7% to more than 50 000 copies from 2009 to 2010.
The Amps survey showed that the paper’s readers varied greatly in age and were largely well educated. “More than half of them are under the age of 34 years and 88% have matriculated or achieved a higher tertiary education qualification,” said Anastacia Martin, the publisher of M&G Media Ltd.
In addition to its strong print readership the M&G also has a growing digital readership. On average in 2010, 625 000 readers accessed the M&G Online each month, according to Nielsen NetRatings.
Almost 800 subscribers also receive the paper’s digital edition each week. A recently launched Kindle edition is also gaining traction. The M&G is the only publication in Africa to run a Kindle edition.