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RAM/INMA survey shows European consumers embrace news brands

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BUDAPEST, Hungary (20 October 2015) – European consumers are deeply engaged with news brands and find them trustworthy, engaging, and worth their time, according to a multi-country survey conducted by Research and Analysis of Media (RAM) for the International News Media Association (INMA).

The survey was released today at the INMA European News Media Conference in Budapest. Some 14,416 online interviews were conducted with readers of 115 news brands across eight European countries.

Presenting at the INMA Budapest conference, Dianne Newman, CEO of UK and Ireland for RAM, pointed to eight key takeaways from the Trust & Value Survey:

  • Print is crucial in the media mix.
  • There is a clear multi-platform audience emerging with varying degrees of engagement.
  • Digital is increasing for legacy publishers, but not at the detriment of print.
  • Engagement with news brands is high.
  • Across platforms associated with news brands, reader satisfaction is higher with print.
  • Data suggests publishers should focus more on promoters.
  • Advertising is integral as it drives recall, engagement, and action.
  • In terms of paid content, there is more work to be done by publishers convincing consumers.

THE MULTI-PLATFORM AUDIENCE

As news media companies shift from a single print platform to being multi-platform brands, the survey reinforces the nature of the multi-platform audience.

RAM executives stress that the sample was predominantly newspaper print readers, which likely paints a different picture of their engagement with social media etc. versus frequent online audiences.

Across many platforms, the RAM/INMA survey shows engagement (people who consume each channel at least once a week):

  • 86% print.
  • 62% Web via computer.
  • 36% Web via smartphone.
  • 32% Web via tablet.
  • 26% via the newspaper app.
  • 25% digital edition (e-paper).
  • 12% Facebook.
  • 6% Twitter.

READERSHIP HABITS SLOW TO CHANGE

Across the major media platforms, readership habits are not changing as fast as many in the news industry suggest. For example:

  • Print: 68% say habits haven’t changed, 15% say they read less often, 10% say they read more often, and 4% no longer read.
  • Computer: 56% say habits haven’t changed, 13% say they read less often, 15% say they read more often, and 6% no longer read.
  • Smartphone: 45% say habits haven’t changed, 8% say they read less often, 14% say they read more often, and 11% no longer read.
  • Tablet: 45% say habits haven’t changed, 8% say they read less often, 14% say they read more often, and 12% no longer read.

Across the four platforms, the RAM data suggests that print readers cling to print tighter, followed by computer-based Web readers. Mobile readers, whether smartphone or tablet, are mostly reading more often.

Newspapers historically are long reads or deep reads, and the RAM data points to a continuation of that trend. The average European consumer spends 24 minutes per day reading their printed newspaper – including 22 minutes in the Nordic countries, 29 minutes in the U.K. and Ireland, and 26 minutes in the rest of Europe.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PROMOTERS

RAM and INMA chose to focus heavily on the need for passionate advocates of news brands in the Trust & Value Survey for 2015.

The questionnaire included a Net Promoter Score (NPS) question. NPS sorts a brand’s customers into three groups, depending on how likely the customer is to recommend the brand on a 0-10 scale. Customers are grouped into promoters (9-10), passives (7-8) and detractors (0-6) of the brand.

The difference between a brand’s percentage of promoters versus detractors plus passives is a measure of net satisfaction among the customer base.

The data shows benchmark scores of -5 for print and -38 for news brand Web sites. Again, while viewing NPS for Web site, it must be noted that the sample is predominantly newspaper print readers.

The reasons media companies should focus on their promoters (i.e. those consumers spreading positive word) are obvious:

  • 63% of promoters spend more than 21 minutes engaging with a news brand daily.
  • 51% of passives do the same.
  • 35% of detractors do the same.

Why media companies should focus on promoters becomes obvious in the data:

  • 23% more likely to be a daily newspaper reader.
  • 40% more likely to have increased their consumption of print.
  • 15% more likely to turn to print first for local news.
  • 50% more likely to rely on print for community involvement.
  • 88% more likely to rely on print for unique content.
  • 86% more likely to trust their newspaper.

NEWS BRAND VALUE PROPOSITIONS

The RAM/INMA Trust & Value Survey paints a positive picture of the value proposition of news brands. For example:

  • 76% agree the news brand addresses topics of concern to them.
  • 75% agree that reading their news brand is part of their quality time.
  • 75% say the news brand gives them something to talk about.
  • 70% say their news brand is their preferred source of information.
  • 73% trust the information in their news brand.
  • 64% say the news brand gives them quality content they can’t get elsewhere.
  • 64% say reading their news brand makes them feel a part of their community.
  • 63% get ideas about things to do from their news brand.

Trust, engagement, and time spent are consistently strong across Europe. For example, 76% of respondents in the U.K. and Ireland say they trust the information they read in their news brand; by comparison, 73% of Nordics and 65% elsewhere in Europe say the same.

THE IMPORTANCE OF ADVERTISING

Meanwhile, the importance of advertising to drive purchase decisions was clear in the RAM/INMA survey. Some 27% of respondents said they acted on entertainment and event advertising, 23% for groceries, and 13% for travel. There are regional variations, mostly via advertising category.

The Trust & Value Survey shows the importance of advertising:

  • Attention: 28% say the advertising in their newspaper often gets their attention.List Item (Replace Text)
  • Informative: 29% say newspaper advertising gives them important information.
  • Action: 23% say newspaper advertising helps them make purchase decisions.

WILLINGNESS TO PAY FOR ONLINE EDITIONS

Finally, European consumers gave RAM feedback on their willingness to pay for online editions of newspapers:

  • 36% say they would pay for online editions.
  • Regionally, that breaks down to 42% in the Nordic countries, 22% in the U.K. and Ireland, and 18% in the rest of Europe.
  • From a Net Promoter Score perspective, 44% of promoters would pay for online editions vs. 37% for passives and 28% for detractors.

ABOUT THE SURVEY

The Trust & Value Survey was commissioned by the INMA Europe Research Committee, whose members helped engage the 115 titles that participated in the survey.

Some 60% of news brands were quality titles, while 29% were mass market popular brands, and 8% were mid-market titles.

Demographically, 54% of responses were male and 46% were female. Some 45% of respondents were 60 years or older, 40% in the 40- to 59-year-old age range, 10% 30-39, and 4% 15-29.

Countries included in the survey were Sweden, Norway, Finland, France, Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. RAM executives emphasise that participation levels varied by country and region. While the sample size is healthy, results are not representative of the entire scope of news brands and media consumption across Europe or by participating countries.

Read more: http://www.inma.org/modules/article/index.cfm?action=articleView&articleId=62325#ixzz3pHqAU8a0

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In the years that we’ve been using RAM it has become an essential part of our presentations to
advertisers. It gives us the diagnostic data that we need to demonstrate the value of newspapers to advertisers.

-Phil Witherow, Director of Research, The Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News

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