What younger readers want (re news)

A great post (en francais) from Jeff Mignon at Media Cafe on what younger readers want re news. Jeffs’s an expert and this is a great read.
Here goes:
1. Contrary to popular belief, young readers, from primary school to their mid-30’s are interested in news. They’re simply reading different publications such as the freebie Metro, YahooNews and for children and adolescents, French publisher PlayBac‘s array of colorful journaux.

2. The theory that as people get older they tend to read more was proven wrong by a survey done by American marketer Clark, Martire & Bartolomeo, who found that 63% of 1999’s 45-54 year olds read a paper. Back in 1967 when this demographic was 18-24, 71% of them picked up the daily paper.

3. If newspapers focus on attracting just the 18 and up crowd, they’ll be losing out. Reading habits begin at a much younger age and develop during adolescence.

4. Newspapers can no longer maintain the philosophy that one-size-fits-all. Especially now with the Internet, we are in the age of ‘personalization.’ One publication is not going to satisfy all demographics.

5. Price will play a huge role in the future of the newspaper. Now that younger generations have learned that they can find quality news for free in most places, daily newspapers will find it increasingly difficult to remain on a pay basis.

6. Young readers are not just looking for ‘infotainment.’ They want a bit of everything, as well demonstrated by free commuter papers such as Metro and 20 Minutes.

7. Advertisers are wrong in assuming that young readers don’t have the disposable cash necessary to influence the market. A study of American youth showed that they spend USD 149 billion, 15% of that being spent online. The young also influence a whopping 80% of what their parents buy.

8. Size matters. To survive, broadsheets must switch to compact. Mignon-Media (Media Cafe’s parent company) suggests an A4 format based on studies it has been conducting for ten years with children, adolescents and the 18-34 young adult demographic.”

(Translation via John Burke of the World Editors’ Forum–thanks! Via editorsweblog)

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  1. Randy says:

    It’s hard to say without reading the study, but at first glance I’m inclined to take the theory that reading declines with age with a large grain of salt. First, an 18-24 demographic quite simply has more time to read the paper than a 45-54 demo – work, parenting, commuting, etc. Did the study correct for this? When I was 20, I read seven newspapers a day – granted, I was monitoring them for a media watch group, but they weren’t paying me, and I had the time. When I gave my mother’s eulogy some five years ago, I suggested that one thing those in attendance could do to honor her memory was to read the daily paper, as she had done unfailingly for over 70 years. Now I don’t read a paper myself! Which brings up the other fairly obvious point, which is that the principal reason the 45-54 demo reads papers at a lower rate than when they were 18-24 is that alternatives now exist that did not exist then – which is why I don’t read a paper, either. Given the ratings decline for network news, I’d also venture to suggest a relationship between how many if not most Americans lean more conservative politically as they age, and the decline in newspaper readership and TV news watching. The unrelenting liberal bias of most major newspapers and the free TV networks has taken a toll in terms of trust and loyalty – the price of ideology, I guess. (Which also raises a question in regard to the role of price. Will people pay more for less bias? Or will bias be self-reinforcing rather than self-correcting? The magazine model – where you get free access to the website updated daily only if you subscribe to the periodic print publication – may be instructive.) But the basic reasoning of the Clark study contradicts data on book and magazine sales, both of which increase substantially with age.
    Did you ever notice that as people get older, they tend to die more? I seem to recall a study that suggested that almost every dead person was more alive when they were 18. I’m not sure what conclusions can be drawn…

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