The
Daily Telegraph trumpeted its readership jump today in the latest survey from Roy Morgan, in contrast to the fall at Fairfax’s Sydney Morning Herald and in contrast to the moans from the News Ltd bunker where stablemate The Australian was denying the loss of readers. Here’s the Tele‘s boasting.

Fairfax, whose papers all did badly again, predictably bagged the results with Fairfax Business Media publisher Michael Gill again questioning the accuracy of the Morgan survey in guaging the Financial Review’s readership. The AFR Monday to Friday lost 6.4% of its readership.

No mention of the slump in other News Ltd papers, like The Australian (down 6.8% Monday to Friday), Courier-Mail (down 2.6% Monday to Friday) or the Herald Sun (down 2.4%, despite being one of the few papers to increase its circulation in the past year). Saturday editions also suffered, except for the Tele.

Overall for News Ltd, just as bad a result as at Fairfax. So it wasn’t a surprise to see a story (not online) – buried in The Australian‘s Business pages – with the headline “Morgan readership figures queried,” quoting the paper’s editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell as saying: “The Morgan figures show why no serious editor or publisher treats any of Morgan’s figures, even his political polling seriously these days.”

Again, pretty standard stuff, but then Mitchell and Gill and the others in the newspaper industry conveniently ignore one important point about the Morgan survey: unlike newspaper circulation measurement, Morgan is independent (despite what the Audit Bureau of Circulations might claim: its boss is a senior executive of The Australian!). There’s no capacity for newspaper publishers to submit a “publisher’s estimate,” as News Ltd and Fairfax have done from time to time in the past, or for the Morgan poll to be fiddled in the way newspaper managements fiddle their circulations with free or very low cost special offers.

But it’s nice to see a plurality of views about the survey at News Ltd.