Roy Morgan Research has reported that the number of people who viewed Fairfax Media listings in the two cities rose from a combined total of 1.081 million in 2013 to 1.161 million in 2014.
That 7.4 per cent increase covered browsers on the Domain website and app, as well as people who viewed listings in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
News Corp listings increased by 4.0 per cent, from 1.444 million to 1.502 million.
Those figures included realestate.com.au visitors as well as people scanning ads in The Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun.
As a result, News Corp’s lead over Fairfax fell from 33.6 per cent in 2013 to 29.4 per cent in 2014, according to Roy Morgan.
The two giants enjoyed differing fortunes in Australia’s two big cities.
News Corp grew 0.3 per cent in Sydney and 7.3 per cent in Melbourne, while Fairfax grew 10.1 per cent in Sydney and 3.8 per cent in Melbourne.
This new report comes after last month’s conflict, when Domain made legal threats against its archrival after accusing it of making false audience comparison claims.
Commenting on this most recent Roy Morgan report, the research group’s general manager of media, Tim Martin, defended its methodology.
“Our continuous survey uses a methodology that combines data collected from face-to-face interviews, self-completion questionnaires and an online panel – not a phone survey as Fairfax has publicly claimed – in order to find out cross-platform audience sizes,” he said.
“Our media research gives publishers and advertisers a true, usable measure of the actual number of people visiting websites, using apps, or reading sections of newspapers.
“Our population-based measures quantify and profile audiences. As such, we don’t focus on the sort of headline-grabbing website traffic figures in the tens of millions of visits, which is what you get when you put figures from Nielsen and Google Analytics side by side.”
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