Report: Under 40s do consume news

ThinkNewsBrands latest report, The Youth Chapter, looks at under-40s consumption of news online and in print

Contrary to popular belief, nine in 10 Australians under 40 are reading news on a monthly basis, with nearly three in five tapping a combination of online and offline as sources, a new ThinkNewsBrands survey shows.

The new report, The Youth Chapter, aimed to debunk the myth that Australian consumers under 40 aren’t engaging with news. According to the findings, 94 per cent of 25-39-year-olds, or 5.4 million, and 91 per cent of 14-to-24-year-olds, or 3.1m, are engaging with news on a monthly basis. The under-40s audience represents 42 per cent of Australia’s 20.4 million consumers reading news on a monthly basis.

While digital news consumption was unsurprisingly high, the report found 54 per cent are sourcing news from a newspaper as well as digitally, 41 per cent purely through digital channels and 5 per cent through print only. The majority of under 40s read news at least three times a week.

Online, 33 per cent of Gen Y and 27 per cent of Gen Z access news directly by searching for a specific story, while 28 per cent of Gen Y and 30 per cent of Gen Z search for news directly. Just shy of one in five Gen Y (19 per cent) and one-quarter of Gen Z (26 per cent) go directly to a news site.

On a weekly basis, the report showed total news had a reach of 7.5m across the under-40s audience, followed by streaming (7.3m), Facebook (7.2m), YouTube (6.9m) and radio (6.8m).

Of the indirect pathways to news, social media topped the list for both age brackets. Other common sources are an aggregator, mobile alert or EDM.

Another highlight of the report was time spent consuming news is increasing, lifting by 36 per cent between 2019 and 2021 to 86 minutes.

From a brand perspective, The Youth Chapter reported 85 per cent of the under-40s consumers agreed seeing a brand or product advertisement in news brands gave them more confidence in its relevance. Newspapers were a top source of confidence for 33 per cent of 18-34-year-olds and 28 per cent of those over 35. However, figures dipped markedly for online advertising, with 24 per cent of 18-34-year-olds and only 4 per cent of those over 35 per cent feeling the same way.

ThinkNewBrands figures showed recognition, unprompted recall and brand lift all tracked higher in the under-40s bracket against all ages for news.

In terms of their influence, the under-40s audience overindex for early adoption of most categories, from lifestyle to health and nutrition, technology such as mobile phones, home entertainment and gaming, and real estate.

“One of the greatest myths is that young people don't engage with news, a misconception often tied to the thinking that news only means printed newspapers,” ThinkNewsBrands general manager, Vanessa Lyons, said. “But these findings show people under 40 are regularly turning to Australia’s major news publishers for trusted information.

“News brands continue to evolve their offerings to reach and engage younger readers by innovating the way news is delivered both on and off platform and clearly this is working to build the habit of regular news consumption among younger generations.”

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