Scale, reach and influence: the fundamental facts about news brands
- 19 November, 2020 09:57
The COVID-19 crisis has had a significant impact on Australians and the need for accurate and timely news has led to significant growth in consumption of news media.
But this trend was visible even before the pandemic began dominating headlines, kicked off by increased demand for information during Australia’s unprecedented summer bushfires.
For marketers, these developments mean news media presents a unique opportunity to connect with actively engaged audience members at a time when they are both learning about significant life events and considering their response.
"This has been a news year like no other, and audiences have turned to trusted news sources in numbers like never before,” says Nicholas Gray, News Corp’s Managing Director for The Australian, NSW & Prestige Titles. “This momentum continues to build, particularly in digital, on all days and weekend newspapers."
To help marketers better plan their response, ThinkNewsBrands has highlighted the vast scale and reach of news media and the opportunities this presents in ThinkNewsBrands Fundamentals, a report which outlines the changes in audience attributes and behaviours that have occurred through 2020.
The growth of Australian news brands
The most critical statistic for marketers is the incredible audience size that news brands can deliver. News brands now reach more than 18.3 million Australians every month, which represents 97 per cent of the population aged 14 or older.
News brands continue to demonstrate strong reach across all demographics with 96 per cent penetration in the 34 – 54 market, 98 per cent reach of the 55+ audience, and a strong presence with the notoriously difficult-to-reach 14 – 35 market (91 per cent reach).
Those figures include 17.7 million Australians who engage with Australia’s 297+ digital news sites each month, and perhaps surprisingly in this digital era, the 11.6 million Australians who read at least one of Australia’s 370+ newspapers.
The growth in news brand readership peaked in the summer of 2020-21, rising from 17.6 million in December 2019 to 18.2 million in March 2020. By June this year that number was holding steady at 18 million – an increase of 500,000 from the same time in 2019 and driven largely by a 9.7 per cent jump in consumption of digital news brands.
The time that Australians spend consuming digital news brand pages also increased massively during the early days of pandemic, leaping from 16.9 million hours in February 2020 to 24.5 million hours just a month later. By June, that figure was holding at 19.5 million hours – a significant increase from the 15 million hours reported in June 2019.
The growth in digital news consumption mirrors the rise of household tech penetration in Australia, with screens per household rising from an average of 6.6 in June 2019 to 6.7 this year. Mobile devices saw the largest growth as news consumption devices and are now used by 84 per cent of people to access the internet – a significant increase on the 67 per cent of Australians who did so last year.
And newspapers also continue to represent one of the first media formats that audiences engage with in their average day, with 63 per cent of newspaper readers consuming media between 6.00am and 12.00pm. Aside from news content, newspapers also cater to a wide range of interests, with sports, real estate, arts & entertainment, travel, and business & finance sections each engaging more than 4 million readers.
While these results demonstrate the broad reach of news brands across Australia, it is also important to consider the strong role they play in shaping people’s opinions and behaviours in all parts of the country.
This is something that has been noted by many in the industry, including Nathan Cave, the WA-based Chief Advertising Officer for Seven West Media.
“News brands have long set the standards for quality, trust, and integrity of news,” says Cave. “The biggest enabler for a news platform is the number of people who engage with us on a daily basis. With an audience of our size, The West Australian – as well our Regional and Community assets – is not to be underestimated.”
It is this kind of messages that the Chair of ThinkNewsBrands, Nine’s Chief Digital and Publishing Officer, Chris Janz, is keen to see conveyed to the market through projects such as the Fundamentals pack.
“Newspapers and news websites drive the nation's agenda, reaching practically every adult Australian in a safe, trusted and brand-safe environment,” says Janz. “Nine, News and Seven West are pleased to come together to demonstrate the power of news brands reaching audiences and driving real business and marketing outcomes.”
Find out more about the breadth and depth of news brand audiences. Download the ThinkNewsBrands Fundamentals.