Australia's major newspaper publishers have continued to experience robust sales of paid digital editions of their national and metro mastheads for the March quarter, while print sales continued to decline.
According to Audit Bureau of Circulation data, combined digital sales of Fairfax Media's metro mastheads, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, increased by 86.6 per cent year on year.
The Age and The SMH launched compact weekday editions in March and recorded a rise in print sales that month. The mastheads will be introducing metered access to their digital news services around midyear.
Print circulation of Fairfax Media's metro mastheads declined for the quarter as the publisher took steps to cut unprofitable circulation.
The Age weekday sales were down 12.6 per cent to 144,277, its Saturday edition was down 8.9 per cent to 219,696, and The Sunday Age was down 13.6 per cent to 178,141.
Weekday sales of The SMH fell 18.2 per cent compared with the previous March quarter to 148,037, while the Saturday edition was down 13.6 per cent to 253,240. Sales of its Sunday paper, the Sun Herald, were down 24.4 per cent to 290,174.
News Corp's The Australian had a weekday sales decline of 6.6 per cent to 119,490, while its weekend edition was down 8.9 per cent to 264,547.
Weekday editions of the Herald Sun and The Daily Telegraph recorded near double-digit sales declines, while weekend editions recorded declines in the 7.1 to 8.2 per cent range.
The weekend edition of The Australian Financial Review defied the trend, increasing sales by 18.2 per cent to 81,606, while weekday sales declined 8 per cent to 64,861.