Survey reveals Gen Z and Millennials are prime news readership drivers

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submitted by Community Wire

What do younger readers and their Boomer counterparts have in common? They’re both on the same page with their love for the print medium, which is one of several revelations to come out of the latest Newspapers 24/7 survey (made possible in part by the Government of Canada).

News Media Canada first began conducting the annual survey in 2012, looking at readership by platform and time of day. The group typically conducts about one thousand interviews to get the information it needs, but this year it bumped its sampling size to almost 2,800. And with that wider lens came insights that might surprise you.

At the macro level, this year’s research shows that consumption of newspaper content remains remarkably stable year over year, with 4 in 5 (83%) Canadians reading the news every week, either in print or digital format. In total, nearly 30 million newspapers are distributed across the country weekly in markets large and small.

Newspaper journalism continues to dominate the informational media we consume. (Consider how many times per day you’re reading a story online that originated from a newspaper journalist or outlet.)

The reason for that is clear in the latest survey: editorial content in printed newspapers and their digital products remains the most trusted form of media. The survey showed that 60% of Canadians trust content that comes from newspapers (print or digital), compared to only 21% who put their trust in social media content. And that confidence also extends to newspaper advertising, creating a safe space for readers and advertisers.

While there’s no question that digital remains the most popular delivery platform – mobile phones in particular – the survey hints at important trends. Younger Gen Z and Gen Y/Millennial readers have become strong consumers of newspaper content, and they’re leading the charge when it comes to exploring alternate ways of accessing that content – including e-papers, podcasts and smart speakers.

In fact, younger generations are a prime driver of readership, with 89% of Gen Y/Millennials consuming newspaper content weekly across all platforms (led by mobile phone), followed by Gen Z at 87% (with phone usage slightly higher than Gen Y). That’s higher than both general Boomer and Gen X readership.

But when it comes to a printed paper in the hand, Gen Z is now equalling the Boomer cohort for weekly readership.

“There seems to be a real resurgence of the tangible media. Many younger readers want to touch and feel something,” explains News Media Canada director of marketing and research Kelly Levson. “Everybody’s concerned that they’re not reading, but the younger generations are reading across all platforms. They’re reading primarily digital products but are still picking up the printed product.”

Younger generations are also powering a shift in consumption habits, whether through e-papers (also referred to as PDF replicas or e-editions), podcasts or smart speakers. The good news for advertisers is that print ad dollars do double duty in e-papers, with one buy turning into both a print and digital ad.

Another revelation from the survey shows that 24% of readers are accessing content across the four platforms of print, computer, tablet and phone. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the same newspaper on all platforms, but it underlines how readers are regularly interacting with newspaper content in different ways.

Newspaper readers want to be connected. They want information, especially local information. The survey found that 92% of community newspaper print readers look there for local information and 49% for advertising, including flyers. Readers want to see where they’re getting the best deals, and that information continues to be a strong driver when it comes to consumption. This is especially understandable given the inflationary pressure on categories such as grocery.

The most important takeaway from this year’s research “is that newspapers continue to be a powerful advertising tool,” sums up Levson. “Newspapers in print and in digital are an effective advertising medium, no matter who you’re trying to reach. You want to reach those younger generations? They’re reading newspapers. You want to reach the older generations? They’ve always read newspapers. Newspapers deserve a position in the media mix.”

For more information and to access the full 2023 Newspapers 24/7 findings, visit: www.championthetruth.ca.

And to show your support for the work newspapers are doing to champion the truth in an era of misinformation and disinformation, download the free Champions font at: www.nationalnewspaperweek.ca.

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