While publishers are striving to keep the more loyal, older audience segments happy, many in the newspaper industry are vying for younger audiences.
That’s in part due to the fact that it’s harder to reach them, making them something of an untapped resource for both advertisers and publishers, and also because by definition of being younger they are the future consumers of media. They also consume media in different ways and amounts, and on a wider variety of devices than their older counterparts.
With that in mind, we decided to look at some of the demographic data from UK national newspapers, to see which generations they’re attracting.
1. Average age
First off we looked at the average age of print readers across six nationals. Some of these figures are likely to be a little out of date, as not every paper regularly updates its audience demographic data available in advertising packages on their websites.
The Independent audience is the youngest on average, at 43, while its sister paper, i, came in considerably older, at 50. That’s particularly interesting given the rhetoric we’ve heard over the years about i attracting lots of students and younger, more engaged audiences.
Unsurprisingly The Daily Telegraph has the oldest average readership, at 61 years old – considerably older than Telegraph’s chief content officer and editor-in-chief Jason Seiken has previously described the audience as:
“Yes, the average age of a Telegraph newspaper reader is now over 50, but young audiences still love newspaper brands.”
2. Age split
It’s also worth taking a look at the age banding of print audiences, which offers a bit more detail:
The Guardian’s audience is fairly evenly split and has the joint-smallest percentage of over-65s in its readership, at 21 percent, which ties with the FT.
The FT is also quite evenly split across the board, but has the smallest percentage of 15-24-year-olds in its readership base at just five percent.
The Daily Mail and The Telegraph have the largest percentages of over 65s, making up almost half of their audiences – at 45 and 46 percent respectively.
3. Audience under 34
The age banding also allows us to look at the percentage of each newspaper’s audience that is under 34, which constitutes those in that magical “millennial” bracket.
The Daily Mail and The Telegraph fairly predictably have the lowest percentage of millennial audience make-up, at just 14 and 15 percent respectively. That’s to be expected given the number of older readers they attract and the sort of content those papers produce.
Millennials make up around a fifth of both The Times’ and the FT’s audience however, which isn’t too bad, but the Guardian, The Mirror and The Sun take home the bacon, with 28, 29, and 29 percent of their audiences constituting those in that millennial age range, respectively.
4. Male/female split
It’s also worth looking at the gender split in each paper’s audience, as it will give some (rough) indication as to both the type of content being produced and therefore the type of advertising each paper will be attracting.
The Daily Mail is the only paper to have more female readers than male ones (these stats are across all age groups), with 52.5 percent female vs 47.5 percent male.
Things are a little more balanced at the Telegraph, Guardian and Mirror, however, while at the Sun, Times, i, and Independent, it’s a rough 60/40 split towards men, and at the FT men make up an astounding 81 percent of the audience (whoever said business was a man’s world, eh?).
I remember a time before Google…
Those just outside of the millennial age group – those aged over 35, that is – will easily remember a time before Facebook and Google. During their formative years those older audience members developed different consumption habits to their younger counterparts currently making their way through their first 20 years of adulthood.
The consumption patterns those younger readers are forming now will become habits that stick with them for a good few years into their future, which includes getting their first proper job, and importantly, for advertisers, their first proper pay cheque.
With the future of newspapers rapidly going digital and publishers racing to adopt or create sustainable business models that work online, the fact that younger audiences show a greater preference for adopting digital media products means advertisers hope they’ll eventually manage to take advantage.
That’s why “the youth” is so important to newspaper publishers.
Image via petra used under a Creative Commons license.