The newest and most comprehensive media research figures in Britain contain some interesting and encouraging news for traditional print newspapers.
The data confirms the use of the ubiquitous smartphone in news readership but only for some titles and there is a sting in the tail there too, especially for advertisers.
Previously, Britain relied on the National Readership Survey that was more or less similar to readership surveys in many other countries. Now they have rolled out the Published Audience Measurement Company (PAMCo) and other jurisdictions are soon to follow suit.
PAMCo uses a mix of 35,000 face-to-face interviews and tracks digital news habits via a reader app. The results give a previously unavailable comprehensive view of newspaper audiences across all content platforms.
First of all, the research confirms the huge audience for news on smart phones but not for in-depth reading. Additional information gathered by the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication found that people who access news on mobile phones spend less time reading and are less focused on the content. Overall, women are more likely to access news on mobile phones while men still tend to read actual newspapers.
The percentages depend on the titles.
Overall, more than half of Britain’s national and regional newspapers reach their readers via hard-copy printed newspapers. Print editions are particularly important to readers of regional newspapers and daily papers such as The Times, The Express, The Daily Star, The Evening Standard and The i.
However, readers of the The Sun (72%), The Mirror (64%), The Daily Mail (63%) and The Guardian (64%) prefer their news via mobile phone, tablet of PC. Again, when the sexes are separated, more women than men read their news on-line.
Across all titles, the vast majority of readers aged 15 to 34 read their news on-line but, again, they spend less time on news and are less focused. Compilers of the research believe this is because there are so many other items on smartphones clamouring for the attention of their users.
Another interesting fact to emerge from the more comprehensive data is that the multi-platform news consumer is a rare enough entity.
On a daily basis, an average of 98 per cent of newspaper readers read their news via a single platform be it newsprint, smartphone, tablet or PC. On a monthly basis, an average of consumers read their news via a single platform.
So what are we to make of it all? Certainly, smartphones are used to read a huge amount of short bursts of news but traditional print is doing better than many people thought.
Actual newspapers are also the medium that attract longer and more intense attention from their readers and that includes their advertisements. It appears that regional, weekly newspapers are still retained for longer periods and referred to more often than daily papers.
Of course, these are statistics related to Britain and not the Republic of Ireland. However, people are people and I suspect our readership figures are in the same ballpark. Happy reading!