Newspapers and audiences

I’ve received survey data back from a study we ran among Irish Times readers over the last week and they show some interesting things.

I was interested to learn just how important readers said analysis was as part of their information intake from The Irish Times. We asked respondents what they valued most when they read news, including politics, business, sports, etc., on a scale from 1 to 3. Respondents were asked to rank three different types of editorial focus: A) in-depth analysis of why events and occurrences have happened; B) analysis of the future implications of those events and occurrences;  C) and the headline news of what has occurred without any analysis.

The chart below shows a far higher interest in analysis (the majority of respondents ranked headline news with no analysis lowest). In contrast, the orange bars show that our readers are significantly more interested in understanding the deeper story, why things have occurred and what the implications are, than the headline news without analysis the most important and second most important types of editorial focus (i.e. averaging of ranks 1 and 2).

chart all interest 2

This is not a reflection of income. Segmenting respondents by monthly income shows almost no change in the spread of interests. The chart (see below) shows a trend line for readers interest in each type of editorial focus (averaging ranks 1 and 2) on an income scale from from under €1,900 per month to over €6,000. The linear trend lines for all three types of editorial focus are flat.

chart trend in interest per monthly income

There is, however, a significant change in interest levels across educational achievement. Respondents are segmented in two categories: “some college” and “college or university degree holders”. (A third category, “high school or equivalent”, had too small a sample size to be significant.) Higher educational attainment is the driver of reader interest in analysis over non-analytical reporting.

chart educationlevel

This is different to the norm.

Data from TGI survey of consumer interests in our market from 2008 onward (missing 2010) show something interesting. The survey asks a general question “do you believe it is worth paying extra for quality”, which is broadly focussed on all classes of products, goods and services that respondents might pay for. The same survey asks respondents whether they “rely on newspapers to keep informed”. This applies to all newspapers, not only The Irish Times. Plotting the numbers of people who answered yes to both the “rely on newspapers” question and the “pay extra for quality” question shows that a desire for quality is not tied to reliance on newspapers. This may be because the question relates to all newspapers, not all of which market themselves on quality.

chart TGI

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