Are newspapers the most reliable media?

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It’s a little overwhelming when you consider how much the world has changed over the past decade. In 2012, tablets were just emerging as a viable new content distribution platform, and mobile payments and voice-enabled technology were just beginning to roll out. On social media, the new niche platform on the scene, Instagram, was recently part of the Facebook family. The digital age was spreading.

So what role could newspapers play? Had they lost ground to new online offerings? To find out, in 2012, News Media Canada – the voice of Canada’s news media industry – launched the first “Newspapers 24/7” report to examine how the medium was changing in the face of this new digital deluge. The results showed that the logs still held firm.

But cut to ten years later and this digital tsunami has only accelerated. Canadians are connected like never before. Do newspapers still have the wind in their sails?

To find out, as part of its recent National Newspaper Week campaign (made possible in part by the Government of Canada), the organization has started a new conversation with consumers to gauge the evolution of their view of the medium. over the past decade.

In collaboration with Totum Research, they launched a national readership survey in November 2021 that asked 825 Canadian adults about their weekly reading habits when it comes to print and digital newspapers.

The results – to say the least – were surprising.

At first glance, the biggest revelation to emerge from these discussions might be that newspaper readership has remained essentially the same over the past decade. Despite an endless array of media options and digital distractions, readers still choose to turn to traditional news sources. In 2012, 85% of respondents said they regularly read the newspaper. By 2022, weekly readership had increased slightly to 86%.

But what had changed was the mode of distribution. Sure, some readers still love their print version (46%), but most have moved to digital (95%), with some reading on all four platforms: phone, tablet, desktop, and print (25%) . It’s perhaps unsurprising that the platform driving the digital charge is mobile. In 2022, 69% of readers were on their phone, up from just 38% in 2012.

So if the “how” changes, what about the “who”?

While many think they’ve ditched newspapers for greener digital pastures, Gen-Y/Millennials showed the strongest usage of all the demos. A total of 87% of the demo consumed the diary content in some way over the course of a week, primarily due to phone usage. (Although 22% of Gen-Y/Millennial respondents used all four platforms in the seven days.) Of course, baby boomers remain the biggest print readers, though they were also more likely to use all platforms throughout the week. .

On the important topic of trust, News Media Canada’s 2022 Newspapers 24/7 study found that trust in newspapers remained high. When it comes to print editorial content, 57% of respondents said the medium was ‘completely’ or ‘somewhat’ trustworthy. For news media websites, that number was 54%. These results place the medium well ahead of radio, television, magazines, social networks and research in terms of consumer confidence.

Similarly, advertising in print and digital media outperformed the competition in trust in advertising. So, despite general downward pressure from what are considered less reliable distribution platforms, newspapers remain a safe space for readers.

For more information and to access the full Newspapers 2022 24/7 results, visit: www.championthetruth.ca

This piece was originally published in Media In Canada. You can find it online here.

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