In July 2012, INMA’s European Research Committee organised a unique survey exploring a timely issue for the printed newspaper: the trust and value readers placed in their printed newspaper of choice. 

With the help of more than 30 publications across Europe, the committee undertook a survey of newspaper readers, resulting in 9,000 participants from 10 countries. Each participating publication sent the survey to its readers via their Reader Panel.

All results had to be representative of the title’s average issue readership and have a minimum response of 150 readers. Fourteen quality titles and 13 mid/mass market titles met the requirements. 

Results were analysed by gender, age group, and target market of newspaper (quality vs. mid/mass market).

Each reader was asked to state his or her level of agreement with a given statement. In analysing the results, we combined the “strongly agree” and “slightly agree” results to get “any agree.”

Our survey results yield highly positive news for printed newspapers: 75% of European newspaper readers agree they trust the information they read in their newspapers.

However, quality title readers are more likely to trust their newspaper: 83% compared with 66% of mid/mass market readers. 

A pronounced difference of opinion is evident between lower and higher age groups of readers regarding the level of importance of the newspaper in the daily life of the reader. On average, 56% of readers agree the newspaper plays an important role in their daily lives.

However, readers aged 60 and older are more likely than younger readers to agree with the statement: 64% compared with 44% of readers under 30. Quality title readers are also more likely than mid/mass market readers to agree: 61% compared with 51% of mid/mass market readers.

The power of newspapers to generate conversational material for the reader cannot be understated: 74% overall agree their newspapers give them something to talk about.

While 70% of readers agree reading their newspapers is part of their quality time, readers aged 60+ are far more likely than younger readers to voice this sentiment: 75% compared with 54% of readers under 30. 

Reader appreciation regarding the exclusivity of their newspapers’ content was also explored in the survey, revealing that 50% of newspaper readers agree their newspaper gives them quality content they can’t get elsewhere. 

Again, level of agreement is stronger among higher age groups and quality title readers. Fifty-five percent of readers aged 60+ agreed with the statement compared with 44% of readers under 30.

Sixty-two percent of quality title readers agreed, making them 24% more likely on average, whereas only 38% of mid/mass market readers agreed, 24% less likely on average.

Our survey shows the strength of printed newspapers in maintaining reader trust and value in a very challenging market and has created highly useful benchmarks for our participating titles.