Australian Newspapers more relevant to digital consumers

Sydney: Newspapers in Australia have become stronger and more relevant to consumers in the digital age, with Australian newspaper websites complementing print editions and enhancing the relationship between newspaper brands and their readers, part two of the landmark Newspapers Today study has revealed.

In addition, the online era has seen newspapers and their websites evolve to become highly respected, multi-dimensional brands that Australian readers regard as even more absorbing, dynamic and reputable than they did two years ago.

Newspapers Today Part 2 Print and Online is the second report in the Newspapers Today research series, and is the first study to explore how consumers relate to newspapers in their printed and online forms. Commissioned by the Australian newspaper industry’s marketing body The Newspaper Works, and conducted by Celsius Research, Newspapers Today is a quantitative and qualitative mainstream media study that provides a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between Australian consumers and newspapers and their websites, editorial and advertising content, and how they compare with other media.

This second wave in the series used the same methodology as Newspapers Today Part 1, which was released in 2008.

Newspapers Today Part 2 has found that far from losing relevance with readers in the past two years, newspapers and their websites have in fact strengthened their position since the original study. This is shown in sharply improved responses to questions about the three key newspaper brand attributes – absorbing, dynamic and reputable – that define Australian newspapers’ positioning (please see Appendix at the end of this release for more detail).

Commenting on the Newspapers Today Part 2 findings, The Newspaper Works CEO Tony Hale said that newspapers and their websites played distinct roles in the eyes of consumers and were being used for different purposes and need states.

“Printed newspapers in Australia are about relaxation and taking time out to concentrate whereas newspaper websites are about being up-to-the-minute and scratching that news ‘itch’,” Hale said.

“Predictions in recent times by some commentators about the imminent death of printed newspapers at the hands of their websites have been proven wrong by the findings of Newspapers Today Part 2,” he said.

“Printed and online newspapers complement each other and have strengthened the relationship between readers and newspaper brands.

“Australian newspapers have a great reputation as the trusted source of news, and the medium which sets the news agenda and keeps people up to date. It’s a reputation which has been enhanced by the digital age, and by evolving, newspapers in this country have carved out a stronger and more relevant position in the modern media landscape,” Hale said.

He said that with no other study of this type having been conducted before, the results are of real interest to Australian advertisers and agencies to help them understand how newspapers and their websites work in concert.

“The study demonstrates that newspapers and their websites are a compelling platform for advertisers. It shows the power of newspaper brands to attract significant audiences and how readers interact with both print and online versions,” Hale said.

He added that Australian newspaper circulations and advertising revenue had outperformed the UK and US markets in the past two years since the first Newspapers Today report was published.

Newspapers Today Part 2 Print and Online is divided into three chapters: a validation of the results two years on from the first study using the three brand attribute measures of absorbing, dynamic and reputable; correcting the myth that newspaper websites are cannibalising printed newspapers; and demonstrating that newspaper brands are seen as powerful and multi-dimensional.

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