ANOP New Matilda Survey


New Matilda’s long term success depends on the stimulation and engagement of our audience. Feedback about and involvement in New Matilda’s objectives by subscribers is vital and so it is important for us to report back to you the results of the first analysis of the subscriber questionnaire.

Despite some question shortcomings (we will design a better one next time) and limited promotion of the questionnaire, there was an outstanding response rate (n= 568) at the analysis date in February 2005. New Matilda subscribers made this analysis task a difficult one by the length and thoughtfulness of response. Reducing some wonderful oratorical flourishes to clinical generic response categories is one of the frustrating necessities of the analyst’s task.

The survey contains a great deal of valuable data that New Matilda is using in its marketing and editorial decisions. There are several significant direction indications from a big and representative sample which at times, waxed lyrical about its concerns and policy priorities.

Who NM Subscribers Are:

Thanks to Fiona Katauskas

Thanks to Fiona Katauskas

Before analysing the survey, we performed a near census of the gender and geographic distribution of all subscribers. New Matilda is more male (61 per cent) than female (39%) but the gender gap is closing from a much higher bloke bias in the early days. New Matilda is too Sydney centric with just on 1 in 3 (33 per cent) subscribers living in Sydney. Melbourne claims 20 per cent, Canberra 8 per cent, Brisbane a lowish 5 per cent, Perth 4 per cent, Adelaide 6 per cent and Hobart 2 per cent. The remaining 22 per cent are spread throughout provincial Australia and overseas. Within the capital cities, New Matilda subscribers are heavily concentrated in suburbs close to the CBD. Significantly however, both ‘well-heeled’ and ‘edgy’ suburbs appear in roughly equal proportions. Important as the Sydney – Canberra – Melbourne triangle is to the New Matilda subscriber base, broadening the geographic catchment is an important objective.

The New Matilda subscribership is heavily skewed to professional practitioners in media and education. Around 1 in 4 subscribers are journalists/writers or teachers/lecturers. Another 1 in 5 are professionals in information services, law, medicine, science or engineering, with a further 1 in 10 in senior business or management positions. Apart from teachers and lecturers the great majority of NM subscribers work outside the government sector. And apart from the 1 in 5 retirees and students, subscribers work long hours, in hard working professions and related occupations. New Matilda is an extremely A list publication.

Accordingly, the age profile is more boomer than Gen X or Y with 3 in 5 subscribers over 50.

What else do New Matilda Subscribers Read:

We read about two newspapers regularly and two other publications as well. Newspaper readership is overwhelmingly upmarket with the capital city and national broadsheets dominating readership. News, current affairs, literary and professional publications are also heavily read. The long list of print publications read reflects a remarkably upscale and literary subscriber base. The straddling of both literary and news/politics realms is particularly marked and may well be unique in the Australian media scene.

What are Subscribers’ Policy Interests and Priorities:

In individual areas of policy interest, NM subscriber priorities are:

1 Health
2 Education
3 Social and Welfare Issues
4 Foreign Affairs
5 Environment

But such is the length and diversity of subscribers’ interests, that a better summary of policy priorities might lie in combining all broadly related areas into a small number of generic baskets. Such an analysis reveals two main levels of subscriber interest and three at the second level:

In responding to what New Matilda should cover, subscribers nominate the big issues of government and politics as clearly No 1, but human rights and social justice areas also score highly. And in terms of concern about Australia’s future, standards in terms of rights, ethics and equality compete with fears of growing selfishness and lack of compassion.

Putting these findings together (interests, desires for NM coverage, concerns for Australia’s future) it is clear that among NM subscribers, there is a left-liberal preoccupation but within a very broad range of interests and concerns. It would be wrong to interpret the NM subscriber mind set as anti-Howard, truth in government, asylum seeker sympathy. These issues are important to some of the subscriber base. More have a broader concern with democratic standards and an increasingly selfish society. But clearly more again are primarily interested in the big traditional areas of government: politics, health, education. Add in a generous sprinkling of literary and cultural interest and the New Matilda agenda is defined.

We would like to thank Rod Cameron and ANOP for this report.

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.