The latest Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) figures for our newspapers make grim reading for Stuff. There were no figures last year because of Covid.

Overall, what they show is Stuff’s fleet of papers, from Southland to the Waikato, have lost a devastating third or more of their subscribers over the last three years. They can’t blame Covid as in contrast, the independently owned Otago Daily Times lost only 12% while the Wairarapa Times Age, with a passionate owner, lost a mere 2.55%.

Those two do not insult their readers with a ludicrous diet of maori wonderfulness and call New Zealand Aotearoa. Instead they present actual news rather than predictable wet woke opinion.

Still, all credit to Stuff for allowing the ABC to audit their sales as opposed to the New Zealand Herald which ducked out and instead published totally fictitious “readership” numbers, something they can’t possibly know.

So against these devastating numbers how is Stuff hanging on?

One answer is their eminently sensible approach of producing the same newspaper in format and content for the entire fleet while maintaining small journalist teams for each to provide some local news. Thus, their seven dailies’ sales (and freebies) when combined, total just over 100,000, a viable figure for the New Zealand print media scene, at least for now.

That said, my pick is the future subscriber erosion rate will increase sharply as their traditional life-long habitual newspaper readers (virtually everyone half a century ago) die off.

The cold hard fact is the average forty year old, and everyone younger, have never held a newspaper. And why would they given today’s instant electronic access to news as it’s happening, something newspapers can’t compete with.

Doubtless, Stuff are planning to emulate the Herald and offer a package combining the paper and access to their web-site. The day they do will see a dramatic drop in their web-site usage, exactly as happened to the Herald. But the Herald stuck to its guns, gradually reducing over two years, access to free news, and their readers were eventually forced to come to the party.

Unfortunately that raises another danger. What if readers say, if I have to pay then one will be enough as it will, and opt for the Herald which I suspect their North Island newspaper readers would mostly do. They comprise 60% of the current subscribers and that would be the end of Stuff.

Whichever way one looks at it, basically they’ve got no future, but sadly that’s true of print media everywhere.


Sophia Aramutu Pewhairangi Thompson Right June 29, 2021 at 11:14 am

Stuff’s primary task is of utmost importance.

Running interference for our great leader.

He pai ki ahau te kāpeti

There is an expression – analog dollars and digital cents. Sadly this is what the print media have to deal with. They initially lost a ton of cash when Trade Me started and it went downhill from here. Cinemas and film distributors used to spend massive amounts in print – not any more. Ditto for property, cars and jobs. Should have been allowed to merge with NZME.

    So many of their ‘stories’ are recycled PR releases from companies. We all know the companies that seem to get endless free promotion in these rags.
    No wonder companies don’t spend advertising dollars when the ‘articles’ can be provided and run for free.

Maybe if they weren’t so far left leaning, more level headed people would read their stuff ( No Pun Intended)

    Correct. and here’s an example of how bad our so called ‘media’ are. How many of you realise that $1.3 million has been ordered to be paid to prisoners in Waikeria Prison at the time of the riots earlier this year? So, who initiated that process? how many of you/us were consulted? And how many REAL victims of crime-some no doubt committed by the very criminals in Waikeria-have been fighting for years to get some compensation? Have you read anything about this on Stuff, or the Herald,or Newshubb? No and you won’t because it May ( Will!) reflect badly on the Commissariat. I wouldn’t have a herald subscription for free.

If I had a horse named “Stuff” which continually insulted my intelligence, I would put out of its misery and shoot it !!!!!

I get my pension in 4 months and 1 day. I stopped geting the newspaper 5 years ago. I got information for the web today that appeared in tomorrows [olds]paper.

Stuff used to be my news site of choice until the went ‘Full Retard Woke’. I use the web to access everything I want across news, current affairs, opinion, sport, and entertainment.

Stuff, and Nine before them, and Fairfax before them, and INL before that – all had the same approach: There will always be a place for print and this interweb thing is no real threat.
They all had the same approach to the staff who’s efforts create their product – cut them back as hard as they thought they could get away with.
Well that’s all worked well, hasn’t it?
Sadly, this industry was once much bigger – more than 40 daily newspapers, all different and all competing with each other.
The sun will set on the industry and sooner than we think. Good riddance I say. It’s now a poor imitation of what it once was.
Pity is, there’s nothing in prospect to replace it.

They might have to adopt the tactics of the dodgy insurance industry. Keep charging their subscribers even once they have left this world.

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