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UK national news brands have audience opportunities for the taking

25 July 2013 · By Matthew Patchett

Research shows national news brands in the UK do a good job of reaching men and the ABC1 demographic, but could use some work with female and younger audiences.

If you ask a media planner, “What is the best medium for reaching men on a large scale?” the answer will usually come back as national press.

The total readership of newsbrands is somewhat biased to men, some titles more than others, and the place they can be reached most efficiently is, of course, the sports section.

Men who are interested in sport typically look at the front page of a newspaper and then start reading from the back (the canny media planner knows this).

Newspapers are also famous for reaching ABC1s (upper-middle-class, middle-class, and lower-middle-class readers). They are in short supply in most other media, and they are a very high-value segment because of their spending power.

As the graphic shows, the ABC1 profile of national newspapers is unusually high – and this is likely to be even higher for the digital platforms because of the up-market profile of smartphones and particularly tablets. 

Advertisers in certain sectors also point to some important consumer audiences, which are covered very effectively by newspapers. They not only read newspapers, but in the newsbrand environment, they have the opportunity to read at length, if they wish, about the item they are interested in buying.

But there are some audiences we are not famous for reaching:

• Women: The extent to which women read national newspapers is sometimes forgotten – perhaps because newsbrands have such high reach of men or perhaps because women’s magazines have historically been so strong.

However, it’s worth remembering that if the newsbrands audience is 52% male, then 48% of them are female — pretty much half of them. All national news titles have content that is principally aimed at women.

Also, in a week, newsbrands reach more than five million more women than women’s magazines do. And they reach them far more quickly, mainly on the first day, whereas magazines take a long time to build up coverage as they are first picked up at different times across the week/month.

• Young people: Young people ages 18 to 34 represent about 28% of the UK population, and they represent 24% of the readership of print newspapers (source: NRS), which is far higher than most people think.

The huge scale of newsbrands’ audience means that this translates into serious coverage. For example, The Sun reaches 50% more young people ages 16 to 34 each day than the popular TV programme Take Me Out.

The age profile of newsbrands is changing rapidly with the advent of digital platforms and here are some examples of why:

• Across print and online, newsbrands reach 8 out of 10 young people each month, 66% each week and 37% each day.

• Of the people who downloaded a national newspaper app onto their phone/tablet, 45% are ages 18 to 34 (source: TGI); this is far higher than the 25% of newspaper readers we saw above.

• The average age of people accessing newsbrand content via mobile is far lower than the average age of the newspaper readership. In the case of the Telegraph, they are half the age of the print readers on average.


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The Ideas Blog captures the practical discussions and case studies of news media company to grow revenue, audience, and brand. These case studies are written by INMA members for INMA members. Begun in December 2012, this content previously resided in Ideas Magazine; for an archive of past case studies, click here.


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Dawn McMullan is the editor of the Ideas Blog and senior editor for INMA. If you are an INMA member and would like to contribute a case study, please contact Dawn directly by clicking here.


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