New Zealanders have turned to the Herald in record numbers at a time when accurate information became a necessity.
During the relentless news cycle of the past year, the New Zealand Herald's overall print-digital readership is at record levels and newspaper readership is its highest in almost a decade.
The latest readership insights released by Nielsen into New Zealanders' news habits reveal nearly 2 million people access New Zealand Herald (print and digital) journalism each week.
The number of New Zealanders choosing to read the daily New Zealand Herald newspaper has increased by 26 per cent over the past 12 months to 585,000 - the highest since 2011. More than 1 million Kiwis read the New Zealand Herald newspapers across the week.
"These readership numbers are staggering. It's very rewarding - and evidence of the faith that Kiwis have in us to provide quality, trusted journalism and information when it's needed the most," NZME Managing Editor Shayne Currie said.
"On behalf of our 300 journalists, and everyone in our news teams at New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME), I can only thank Kiwis for engaging with our journalism."
Other highlights from the NZ Readership data released today includes:
• Readership of the NZ Herald has increased across every day of the week compared with the last period and the same time a year ago
• The Weekend Herald readership has grown to 678,000 readers
• The Herald on Sunday readership has grown to 370,000 readers
• New Zealand Herald growth in the Waikato continues with 17,000 more readers than the Waikato Times
• NZME regional papers the Bay of Plenty Times, the Rotorua Daily Post, Hawke's Bay • Today, and Whanganui Chronicle have all grown readership year on year
• "One extremely pleasing readership statistic is the number of young readers who choose to access our journalism," New Zealand Herald editor Murray Kirkness said.
"The New Zealand Herald is read by 218,000 Kiwis aged between 18 and 29 each week. And the number of 18- to 29-year-olds who pick up the Herald each day has increased more than 50 per cent in the past year. It's proof that in the battle against fake news that proliferates on social platforms, younger Kiwis know they can come to us for news they can trust," Kirkness said.
The Herald's Premium digital subscription service is on the verge of reaching another milestone – with nearly 50,000 digital paid subscribers. The total number of subscribers including those who access Premium as part of their New Zealand Herald print subscription is now more than 93,000.
"We are continually setting the bar higher for our Premium subscribers. In the last few months, we've included new features for subscribers via our new NZ Herald App, and we've added the opportunity for commenting online on selected stories," NZ Herald head of Premium Miriyana Alexander said.
"We know it's the quality journalism that ultimately attracts Premium subscribers and during the health and economic crisis of the coronavirus pandemic our reporters, experts, commentators and analysts have continued to deliver the most in-depth, exclusive coverage and insights."
CEO Michael Boggs paid tribute to NZME's news teams.
"I've had the privilege on a number of occasions this year to be in the NZME newsroom during some of the most extraordinary events during 2020," Boggs said.
"I've witnessed first-hand our teams in action. I'm always impressed with their dedication, their professionalism and their unrelenting focus on doing the absolute best for our audiences across print, radio, digital, video and social.
"The greatest accolade for our news teams is in the huge number of Kiwis who put their trust in what we do. We strive every day to earn that trust, just as we strive every day to be New Zealand's Herald," Boggs said.
These readership figures come off the back of Boggs outlining a three-pillar strategy to continue growing the Herald, increasing radio dominance and accelerating OneRoof's growth trajectory.
"We expect digital-only subscriptions to exceed print subscriptions by 2023 with a goal of more than 210,000 subscribers by the end of 2023," Boggs said previously.
"Our aim is that over 15 per cent of New Zealand households will be New Zealand Herald subscribers in print or digital by 2025."
The NZME share price closed at 71 cents on Wednesday, up significantly from its low point of 18 cents at the end of March this year.