Menu Toggle

Newspapers: Looking Beyond The Yesterday Lens

By Donald Williams and Rahul Sethi

As appearing on the INMA blog on August 3, 2017.

Looking at newspaper audiences, beyond the lens of yesterday readership, provides an opportunity to understand how Canadians interact with news brands. Regardless of generation, the move to a weekly lens elevates news brands to a level comparable with other media. For this article, Vividata analysed Canada’s largest market, Toronto, served by six daily newspapers.

There is an opportunity for publishers to close the gap between read yesterday and read past week metrics, especially among Millennials and GenXers (see Fig. 1).

Digital is no longer a niche platform for any generation. It’s no surprise that the younger generations, Millennials and GenXers, read news brands less frequently than Baby Boomers and the Greatest Generation. However, Millennials and GenXers are reached by the digital content of news brands at a higher rate than the elder generations (see Fig. 2).

Understanding Generational Reading Behaviour

Newspapers remain the number one choice for city, national or international news across generations (see Fig. 3). Each generation has a different pattern of digital reading and requires a different strategy to build engagement and increase reading frequency.

Attracting Millennials requires a strong digital and/or cross-platform strategy, with attention on relevant and compelling social and interactive features. Their preference for smartphones makes Millennials a great target for location-based services and deals.

GenXers are fairly similar in their news consumption to Millennials. However, they are more engaged by news brands. GenXers spend more time with news brands in print and digital formats. They prefer to access digital content on a computer over a smartphone, and will most often navigate to digital news content via a search engine or going directly to the website. While they are still very mobile, their device usage has more to do with convenience as they have more hectic lifestyles than the other generations.

Baby Boomers are heavier readers of print. But, Boomers are transitioning to digital. For digital content, they prefer navigating directly to news brand websites, but they are also using social media.

Both GenXers and Baby Boomers value premium and local content. To retain, or grow the reach of these segments, news brands can offer a content ecosystem that combines print, digital and mobility. For Boomers especially, digital can be used as a means to enhance their experience with the printed product.

The Greatest Generation are primarily loyal to their preferred news brands. This generation has the highest readership of print and they spend the most time with the printed product. When accessing digital content, they most often navigate directly to the website via a bookmark in their browser, or through a subscription that includes the digital edition.


When we look at newspaper audiences beyond the yesterday only metric, advertisers and publishers can explore the opportunities captured in weekly readership behaviour: strategies to increase readership frequency across the day and number of issues read across the week, different platform strategies and audience drivers, and generational behaviour segmentation.

Today, there are many sources for national and international news, but newspapers continue to hold their own, if not lead, other major media (TV, radio, social media) across all generations. The local news brand/newspaper is unique in its ability to both report on the local news and provide the local filter through which global and national news stories are told.


Ready to dig into the data?

Our reports will help you dig deeper into the consumers of your brand, and paint a vivid picture of the Canadian Consumer. Contact us today, to learn more about membership and purchasing our studies.


Subscribe for the latest news, insights and promos

* indicates required