Research: Digital readers regularly visit news media content

By Donald Williams, Tosha Kirk, and Rahul Sethi


Toronto, Ontario, Canada


The convergence of technology is reshaping consumer behaviour and redefining publishers’ business models. Media research must reflect this dynamic environment with technology capable of capturing consumer behaviour and eliciting insights.

The evolution

In the summer of 2014, Vividata began the journey toward cross-platform measurement in Canada. Fifteen months later, in October 2015, Canada’s first single-source study provided cross-platform readership data for newspapers and magazines.

Recognising that consumer behaviour continues to evolve, Vividata conducted extensive qualitative research into respondents’ understanding of the 2015 questionnaire. Findings revealed respondents understood print-related questions, but had difficulty distinguishing between the various digital platforms (such as pdf, digital replica, and Web site/app).

That research led directly to improved digital questions that went into the field in 2016:

  • Brand-centric approach but filtered by format, with separate streams for print and digital.
  • Measure digital by device and how it is accessed (such as social, search engine, or app).
  • Simplify wording and definitions based on current consumer understanding.

Vividata’s recently released 2017 Q2 study provides new stories and opportunities for publishers and incorporates expanded cross-media profiling. The importance of digital can be seen in this release.

Digital readers return to newspaper sites multiple times each week.

Younger and older generations discover digital content in different ways.

Beyond core readership metrics, Vividata is now capturing Canadians’ changing views toward news and print in a series of attitudinal statements, including:

  • I feel it is important to pay for news and information to feel truly informed.
  • I commit more time each day to seek out current news and information than I did two years ago.
  • Print is an uninterrupted, personal, and relaxing experience.
  • The physical aspect of reading print is a key part of the experience.
  • Computers remind me of work; reading print is a pleasure.

What is next?

Continuous improvement to our cross-media measurement platform methodology is needed to keep pace with the changes in consumer behaviour. At the top of our list this year: How do we maintain a representative sample?

Although there continues to be relative success in representing a wide cross-section of Canada’s 12+ population, there are some groups that remain underrepresented, including 12-17, 25-34, and small business owners. Different solutions are required for each cohort. Cell-phone-only households now represent more than 30% of homes in Canada, and new efforts are being made to ensure balance in the sample.

About Donald Williams, Tosha Kirk, and Rahul Sethi

By continuing to browse or by clicking “ACCEPT,” you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance your site experience. To learn more about how we use cookies, please see our privacy policy.