6 audience segments defined by preferences (hint: trust is key)

By Donald Williams and Rahul Sethi


Toronto, Canada


Newspaper and magazine audiences are generally viewed through a limited lens, but the recently released Vividata’s spring 2018 study is expanding the way we look at these audiences.

The “attitudes toward media” segments provide unique findings for newspaper brand audiences. There are six distinct groups (see Figure 1) that showcase the various attitudes and preferences Canadians have for different media vehicles.

Looking at newspaper audiences from the perspective of attitudes and preferences brings to light unique behaviours beyond simply mirroring age, gender, income, and so on. Certain behaviours are simply dictated by personal preference. Those who have a shared preference, behaviour, or way of thinking may share some demographic qualities, but this is not always the case.

And so, if we just stick to looking at the demographic make up of who audiences are, and disregard why audiences engage with certain media the way they do, we miss an opportunity for building deeper relationships with them.

Traditionalist, Digital Content Conscious, and Media Obsessive segments

Out of the six segments presented in Figure 1, Traditionalists, Digital Content Conscious, and Media Obsessive are of the greatest interest to Canadian newspaper brands. Together, these three segments make up 51% of Canadian adults in urban markets. And though their media behaviour differs greatly, they all find newspaper brands to be the most trusted and in-depth source for news and information.

By understanding these segments, newspaper brands can better strategise their content and advertising.


  • 59% are over 50 years old (an index of 136).
  • One in three earn a household income over C$100,000.
  • More likely to agree with these statements: “I feel it is important to pay for news and information to feel truly informed” and “Print is an uninterrupted, personal, and relaxing experience.”
  • One in three intend to vacation outside Canada in the next year.
  • More likely to sell their home in the next year.

Media Obsessive:

  • 60% are under 50 years old.
  • Nearly 40% earn a household income over C$100,000.
  • Nearly one in two have an undergraduate or postgraduate degree (an index of 118).
  • Much more likely to agree with the statement: “Advertising influences my purchase decisions.”
  • More likely to change their job and purchase a home in the next year.

Digital Content Conscious:

  • 62% are under 50 years old (an index of 111).
  • Earn an average household income higher than all Canadians and segments presented in Figure 1.
  • More likely to be managers, professionals, or owner/entrepreneurs (MOPEs); just over one in three are MOPEs (an index of 122).
  • More likely to agree with the statement: “I feel lost without my smartphone” and are more likely refer to the Internet before making a purchase.
  • More likely to start their own business in the next year (an index of 136).

And perhaps the most important thing to note is a significant percentage of these segments notice and respond to newspaper ads. Among every segment, one in 10 made a purchase after seeing a newspaper brand ad. The Media Obsessive group tends to be particularly active: A quarter of them searched for a product, brand, or service online after seeing an ad, and nearly one in five used a coupon.

Trusted, in-depth coverage

Canadians are engaged by newspaper brands and respond to their advertising. However, different people have different preferred experiences:

  • Traditionalists want their news in one place in a printed copy.
  • The Digital Content Conscious segment wants the efficiency of digital access from any device.
  • And the Media Obsessive want newspaper brands to be just one news source (though their most preferred) out of many.

However, all these segments have one thing in common: They turn to newspaper brands for trusted, in-depth coverage.

In the presence of fake news and quick yet inaccurate presentations of news from independent parties, newspaper brands remain recognised for in-depth, trusted coverage. All that differs with their audience is who’s reading and how they’re reading.

About Donald Williams and Rahul Sethi

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