The NRS report that a healthy 81.7% of GB adults consume news through print (73.3%) or news websites (35.5%) everyday. An impressive 85% of ABC1s engage with newsbrand content every month – reassuring evidence for advertisers looking to target a high-income audience through newspaper print and digital advertising.
 
The Guardian recorded the greatest audience growth PoP (comparing figures to Jan-Dec 2013), up 2.3%. Last week we reported on the Guardian’s strong performance in the online market, which has led to an online-heavy audience with 10.4 million unique visitors (monthly average). Currently “rethinking its design language across all its digital platforms”, the Guardian seems to be benefiting from their forward thinking strategy using customer data to dictate the functionality and layout redesign.
 
Even with combined readership having fallen by 5.8% PoP, the Daily Mail is still the top pick of any newsbrand with a monthly average of 11.1 million print readers and 10.5 million online visitors. The NRS estimates that nearly 14 million people read the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday or Mail Online each week. Just a year ago, the Sun held the spot as the UK’s most read newspaper brand, however since introducing a paywall last August the title has continued to lose online readers, recording a 4.8% drop in combined readership across the year.
 
Whilst the Sun is struggling to pick up its audience since implementing the paywall so recently, The Times, with its paywall in place has solid figures showing they are rebuilding their consumer base.
 
The Times has seen a 14% increase in online visitors in the last quarter, as print subscribers (with free access to online content) continue to increase. Alan Hunter, head of digital at The Times and The Sunday Times, suggests that introducing the paywall has enabled the brand to increase the quality of their content, in turn attracting more subscribers.
 
The Daily Telegraph, who introduced a quota on the number of free-to-view articles per reader (the ‘middle way’) in March 2013, also saw growth in their online audience, contributing to a 0.6% increase in combined readership.
 
The Mirror, currently opting not to use a paywall and instead focusing on expanding their online offering, have too enjoyed growth in online readership. The digital following increases the brand’s total reach by 53%.
 
Aggregated figures from The Independent and sister title, ‘i’, saw 0.6% growth in total audience, with the online offerings receiving 4.1 million visitors each month, bringing total reach to 8.4 million. The owners are (allegedly) looking to sell the loss making print titles while keeping the profit making online presence, so watch this space for big changes here.
 
Paywall versus free for all. Quality versus quantity. We actually think there is space for a variety of options as print media adapts to life online. There isn’t one option to suit all the papers, and as each offers different content, with a different audience in mind, shoe horning a title into a method of making it pay for itself is where the danger really lies. The Times, The Telegraph and The Guardian – three qualities with three different, potentially successful, methods of extracting value from readers for advertisers.
 
The next instalment from the NRS, due out August 28th, will consider tablet and mobile activity. About time given the amount of people getting their news via these formats (The Guardian think up to 30% of their readers are using mobile). Exciting times for those of us looking for ever greater accuracy of consumption behaviour!
 
By Angharad Edwards