80.2% of GB adults flick through a newspaper or scroll an online news site daily. Of the 41 million adults engaging with newsbrands each month, the distribution is fairly balanced with equal portions of 18-35 year olds and over 65s contributing to this stat. Data indicates that 9/10 Brits on salaries exceeding £70,000 engage with a newsbrand on a regular basis, with this figure being 8/10 amongst main shoppers – promising for brands looking to target anyone from big spenders to supermarket regulars. In sum, print/online news outlets are currently providing a very strong avenue for connecting with British adults, nationally.

 

Turning our attention to specific newsbrands, in the 12 months leading up to June 2014, the Daily Mail held on to its position as the most popular British title, bringing in nearly 20 million readers on average per month. This figure was fairly evenly split between the print and digital audience (MailOnline). The Sun, as ever, chased behind with 14 million monthly readers, as the second most popular title. The Sun newspaper is also the most popular read for the C2DE demographic. Unlike the Daily Mail, the vast majority of The Sun’s audience is print based. Just 8.6% of all readers access content through the Sun+, the newsbrand’s online offering – not particularly surprising given the paywall introduced in the last year.

 

At the other end of the quality spectrum, we have the Guardian, the most popular read amongst the ABC1 audience. Whilst the newsbrand saw an audience loss of 6.4% PoP, the combined print and online audience totalled an impressive 11 million monthly readers.

 

This figure was matched by The Daily Telegraph and The Times. Whilst overall readership figures amongst the newbrands suggest similar audience sizes, it’s upon considering the online audience that the unique features of the brands becomes apparent. The Guardian has openly refused to charge loyal readers for online content, whilst The Times, contrastingly, has hidden behind a paywall for three years now. The Daily Telegraph uses a metered online paywall, whereby readers are limited to consuming a set number of online articles for free monthly.

 

Online readership increases The Guardian’s total reach by 180%. The Daily Telegraph, too, enjoys an audience increase of 150% as a result of its online offering. The Times, however, records a (very) print heavy audience, with online figures adding a mere 4% to total reach.

 

Of course there are many factors that influence the size of a newsbrand’s online audience, and as we know it’s not all about the quantity of readers, but the quality of their loyalty. The numbers don’t lie, however. Where online content is readily free and available, readers flock, and when asked to pay, well, they are (as you would expect) more critical in their choices.

 

We’ve discussed the issue of paywalls extensively in our blog (making paywalls work and otherwise), and while the future of online journalism continues to mystify even the savviest of media forecasters, we continue to believe that one size doesn’t fit all in terms of monetising through online news sources. Each newsbrand speaks to a distinct audience and the behaviours and values of this group vary accordingly, leaving room for titles to build their strategy around an understanding of their target audience.