Print Reader Profiles

Part
01
of six
Part
01

Print Magazine Readers - Demographics

The typical print magazine reader in the U.S. is a 50 year or older African-American, Hispanic-American, or Asian-American female who earns at least $79,000, and has graduated from college.

Age

  • Print magazine readers in the US are generally older.
  • Data from 2017 indicated that 44.7% of monthly print magazine readers in the US were "aged 55 and above, compared to 41.2% in 2015."
  • In 2017, 56.1% of adults in the US reported that they have read the print edition of a magazine in the past week. This percentage has decreased from 61.7% in the previous years.
  • People aged 65 and older (73%) are twice as likely to read print magazines compared to those aged 18-24 (36%).
  • The median age of print magazine readers in the US is higher than those who read digital magazines.
  • As of 2019, the median age of print magazine readers in the US is 50 years compared to the median age of digital magazine readers i.e., 34-39 years.

Gender

  • In the US, females are more likely to read print magazines than males. In fact, 10% more women than men are readers of print magazines.
  • A survey conducted in fall 2019 indicated that 55% of women in the US read print magazines as compared to 45% of men.
  • While the percentage of daily and weekly print magazine readers in the US is the same for both males and females, 15% of females read print magazines once a month compared to 13% of males.
  • 21% of females read print magazines less than once a month compared to 17% of males.

Income Level

  • According to the MRI Survey of the American Consumer 2019, the average income of print magazine readers in the US is $79,000.
  • The average household income of print magazine readers in the US is lower than those who read magazines on the publication's social networking site/blog ($88,000) or website ($91,000).
  • Media Audience Demographics reports that 37.4% of monthly print magazine readers in the US are "affluents" with a household income of at least $100,000.

Education Level

  • The MRI Survey of the American Consumer 2019 provides insights into the education level of magazine readers indexed against average adults. According to the survey, the readers of print magazines in the US are 9% more likely (Index 109) to have graduated college and 5% more likely (Index 105) to have a professional/managerial career than the average US adult.
  • The index numbers were converted into percentages in the light of basic indexing rules e.g., index 109 = 9% increase.

Ethnicity

Research Note

The marital status of print magazine readers was not available. However, information on the ethnicity of print magazine readers was available and hence, we provided ethnicity of print magazine readers instead.
Part
02
of six
Part
02

Print Newspaper Readers - Demographics

The typical print newspaper reader in the U.S. is a male who is over the age of 60, has at least a bachelor's degree, earns $150,000 or more per year, and lives in a suburban area.

Age

  • The highest percentage of people who read a print newspaper every day fall in the age bracket of 60+ (23%).
  • In fact, the over 60 age bracket has the highest percentage for newspaper readers of those who read newspapers several days a week (13%) and once a week (18%) as well.
  • This indicates that print newspaper readers are generally older and likely are over the age of 60.

Gender

  • Males are more likely to read print newspapers on a daily basis at 19% to 12% female.
  • However, females are more likely to read print newspapers several days a week (12% to 11% male) and once a week (18% to 15% male).
  • The data shows that males read print newspapers more often than females.

Income Level

  • The highest percentage of people who read a print newspaper every day have a household income of $150,000 or higher (51.3%)
  • This is followed by those who have a household income of between $50,000 and $110,000 at 28.0% and between $110,000 and $150,000 at 26.7%.
  • Therefore, the majority of daily print newspaper readers have incomes of $150,000 or higher, but people with incomes between $50,000 and $150,000 are avid readers as well.

Education Level

  • The majority of print newspaper readers have a graduate or professional degree (16.8%), followed very closely by a bachelor's degree (16.6%).
  • Therefore, 33.4% of print newspaper readers have a college degree or higher.

Location

  • Newspaper readers are more likely to live in suburban areas (57%) than in urban (26%) or rural (16%).

Research Note

The marital status of print newspaper readers was not available, but the location of print newspaper readers was found, so we substituted that demographic for marital status.
Part
03
of six
Part
03

Print Newspaper Readers - Psychographics

In the growing digital age, printed publications are seeing a change in their consumer base. Printed newspapers now compete with news stories published on the internet and social media. However, printed newspaper businesses have not seen as significant of a decline expected. Newspaper subscribers tend to prefer the printed paper over digital subscription, with 75% of newspaper subscribers reporting a preference for print. However, printed newspaper publications have seen a recent decline in sales, decreasing by 8% in weekly subscriptions and 9% for Sunday papers from 2017-2018. Newspaper companies need an understanding of the type of the habits and values of consumers who prefer newspaper print in the United States, so the companies can appeal to this population and avoid further sales declines.

Habits

  • A 2019 global study looked at reading habits for digital and printed items. This study discovered approximately 29% of those who prefer printed newspaper read a printed paper daily. Approximately 31% of those who prefer printed newspaper read the paper once a week.
  • Specifically in the United States, this study found approximately 63% of study respondents read printed advertisements once a week.
  • The 2019 global study discovered approximately 71% of Americans believe a printed newspaper gives a more comprehensive understanding of the topic. This contributes to understanding of printed newspaper reading habits.
  • Reading printed newspapers has been identified has a habit of successful persons. Additional habits of these successful persons include networking, getting up early in the morning, disciplined personal care, positive attitudes, relaxation, organization, and taking action on ideas/tasks.

Hobbies

  • 73% of Americans responding to a 2019 study reported enjoying reading printed news rather than digital news. This contributes to reading as a hobby being more popular for printed papers rather than digital.
  • Examples can be found of individuals collecting printed newspapers as a hobby, saving important stories, historical information, or cultural mementos.
  • Readers of printed newspapers tend to identify reading as a hobby, which can include reading papers, magazines, books, etc.
  • Looking at the sections of printed papers rated as most popular give insights into hobbies and interests of readers. Holidays and Travel sections tend to be popular with weekend papers, implying hobbies related to travel. Television listings are consistently in the top five popular newspaper sections, implying an interest in televised entertainment. Opinion sections also remain popular, which may indicate interest in debate and discussion.

Spending Habits

  • Consumers purchasing printed newspaper appear to value discounts. 39% of printed newspaper subscribes report buying the subscription due to a discount being offered.
  • Persons who purchase printed products enjoy finding deals and discounts beyond the printed subscription. 51% of consumers reported purchasing the printed version to obtain coupons contained within the newspaper.
  • Local small businesses tend to benefit well from placing ads in printed newspapers, and often forego other forms of advertising due to cost. This indicates persons who read printed newspapers tend to spend more money on local services.
  • The cost of printed newspapers has continued to rise. Subscribers receiving the Times newspaper 7 days a week spend over $1000/year. Daily subscriptions to the Boston Globe cost readers over $750/year. Purchasing a single newspaper at a store or gas station cost these readers anywhere from $2-$3 per printed newspaper.

Values

  • Printed newspaper consumers tend to value family and social connections and recommendations. 45% of printed newspaper subscribers reported making this purchase due to family and friends using the printed newspaper subscription.
  • The ability to share with others is a strong value among consumers of printed newspaper over the age of 65. Of this population, 58% reported sharing printed newspaper content/clippings with others.
  • Trust is a value that contributes to the choice of reading a printed paper versus digital news. In the United States, approximately 54% of readers stated they are more likely to trust printed advertisements and news over digital versions.
  • Readers of printed newspapers tend to be more educated, showing a value for knowledge.

Research Strategy

We began this research by analyzing sources describing the audience for printed newspapers. We cross-referenced this information with additional sources identifying typical values and trends for this population. We also analyzed information discussing the target audiences for printed papers and external benefits connected to printed papers. Information regarding hobbies and habits was extremely limited in recent published information. Therefore, some slightly older articles (2013-present) were consulted. Assumptions and inferences were made regarding hobbies based on popular sections of the newspaper, as higher interest in these sections likely connects to reader hobbies. Synthesizing this information allowed conclusions related to the desired portions of the psychographic profile of a print newspaper reader.
Part
04
of six
Part
04

Print Magazine Readers - Psychographics

The psychographic profile of print magazine readers in the US indicates that readers are influential, active, and affluent people, who value quality experiences and luxury items. Print readers appear to be highly conscious of money-related topics. Readers look for and appreciate deals to save money, while also tending to spend on quality, luxury, and electronic items.

Habits

Hobbies

Spending Habits

  • People from affluent households represent 37.4% of magazine readers. Combined with the fact that luxury brands allocate 55% of their budgets to magazine advertising, one may conclude that print magazine readers may tend to spend money on luxury items.
  • Print readers enjoy special deals related to print subscriptions.
  • Clippable coupons are valued by 42% of print readers, indicating awareness of their spending and budgeting.
  • Print readers are willing to pay more for brands that they value.
  • Print readers spend more on consumer electronics than consumers of other media types.

Values

Part
05
of six
Part
05

Print Magazine Industry - Trends

The estimated revenue from United States (US)-based print publications has dropped precipitously over the last decade from $46 billion in 2007 to $28 billion in 2017, fueled by the competition for audiences with Internet-based alternatives. Despite this competition, the total number of print magazine readers has actually increased slightly since 2012, and the total number of magazines in the US has remained fairly consistent since 2008, varying between 7,200 and 7,400. In order to survive, print publications have learned to not only coexist with digital media, but to embrace and take advantage of it.

Bundling Print and Digital Content

  • “The key,” writes Ann Lobb (VP of Media and Publishing at MPP Global), “is understanding how customers want to engage with the publication, and then making it as simple as possible to do so.”
  • Options can include an annual or monthly fee for both print editions and full access to digital content or custom-bundling, which allows consumers to choose which features they want.
  • Magazine publishers often include digital versions for free, or deeply discounted, when subscribing to a print publication. See for example, Popular Science or the Economist.
  • Popular Science also found success by cutting the frequency of its print magazine while raising both its subscription price and the quality of the magazines paper-stock and visual content.

QR Codes

  • QR codes are the familiar black and white, seemingly randomly pixelated, squares that can be scanned by your smartphone, similar to traditional bar codes.
  • An increasing number of print magazines are incorporating these machine-readable squares into their advertisements and articles, allowing readers to access deals, promotions and content by scanning the codes with their smartphones.
  • Utilizing QR codes contributes to brand engagement. QR codes are also more consumer-friendly as they are easily scan-able by a mobile device.
  • Target has utilized QR codes in its print magazine ads to redirect consumers to online advertising.
  • Musical app Shazam embeds QR codes in many of its print advertisement with Vogue magazine.
  • HOW, GQ, Cosmopolitan and Health are all publications that adopted the use of QR codes to guide their consumers to additional online content.


Targeted/Niche Marketing

  • When it comes to marketing and advertising to target audiences, print magazines do have one advantage over most Internet and social media advertising. Purchasers of print magazines are already revealing a clear preference to consume what that publication has to offer.
  • The CEO of oil and gas publisher Hart Energy noted in 2019: "Our print products establish our reputation... It's expensive, but it works."
  • Non-traditional media brands (such as AirBnb and Casper) have recently launched print magazines in effort to create engagement with existing and potential customers.
  • Callaway recently launched Pivot, a golf magazine "lightly branded" with Callaway product integrations.
  • The president and CEO of Active Interst Media noted in 2014 that "a premium print product at the core of a media brand is essential." It recently launched its eighth publication geared to a "micro-niche" of boaters.

Research Strategy
Aside from the start of standard Internet searches to discover recent trends, we focused on industry associations and the websites of featured companies.
Part
06
of six
Part
06

Print Newspaper Industry - Trends

There is a general narrative that describes the doom of print newspapers with the advent of more digital news outlets. However, the current consumer trends are much more nuanced and rely on more than the rise of technological use.

Changing Financial Models

  • While consumers are no stranger to paying for online services, paying for news is seen as less valuable than paying for apps like Netflix and Spotify.
  • The daily delivery model of daily newspapers is on the decline. In 2020, there expects to be major cutbacks in daily delivery and daily printing of newspapers.
  • Google and Facebook, tariff and newsprint costs, and the hiring away potential of early-morning newspaper deliverers by Amazon and Uber are contributors to the decline of the daily morning distribution model.
  • Digital paywalls can pose a barrier for increasing revenue. For companies with high circulations and large amounts of exclusive content, paywalls can increase overall sales by increasing demand for print subscriptions.
  • Newspapers with less exclusive content have generally experienced losses when charging readers to access digital editions.
  • The rise of paywalls is also shutting more people off from quality news and making the internet more difficult to navigate.
  • The 7/1 model, also known as the Sunday print paper plus digital the rest of the week, and the 7/2 model, which involves delivering print paper two days and digital the rest of the week.
  • McClatchy piloted the 7/6 model in 2019 with its South Carolina paper the Myrtle Beach Sun News. In April 2019, Myrtle Beach Sun News replaced its Saturday paper with expanded newspapers on Fridays and Sundays. Sara Glines, the company's regional publisher, said that the numbers looked good about the Myrtle Beach experience. They lost 18 subscribers, but won back all but two.
  • It is possible that the hybrid print/digital brand can create new meaning and value as the transformation of moving print subscribers to digital subscribers retains print subscriptions.
  • Digital strategist Adam Tinworth predicts that the best sites will combine membership with other revenue streams such as print.

Growing Trust in Mainstream Print Newspapers

  • YouGov, an international market research firm, conducted a three-year survey on behalf of The Economist on the trust of traditional newspapers in light of Donald Trump's undermining of the newspapers.
  • YouGov asked a representative sample of Americans to rate large American news organizations from a scale of "very trustworthy" to "very untrustworthy". Results show that trust in America's mainstream print media has improved across the political spectrum.
  • The reputational hit of Trump's "fake news" campaign has predominantly fallen on social media outlets, messaging platforms, and "online only" news channels. As of 2017, news coverage of politics and elections on social media platforms is trusted less by approximately sixty percent of news audiences because of the "fake news" campaign.
  • Two newspapers that have increased consumer confidence are the New York Times and Washington Post, which are two of Donald Trump's two most frequently targeted newspapers.

Value of Small-Market Newspapers

  • Local newspapers with circulations below 50,000 ("small market newspapers") tend to get overlooked due to the narrative dominance of larger newspaper outlets. Larger publicly listed groups operate in a different sphere than independent and family-owned titled.
  • Local newspapers have customarily helped fashion, maintain, and celebrate community solidarity and identity.
  • One benefit for many smaller outlets is that they have more control over their look and feel. Many smaller newspapers are producing quality reporting and embracing technological innovation.
  • The Storm Lake Times of Storm Lake, Iowa, a twice-weekly paper with a staff of nine, won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing.
  • The Herald and News in Klamath Falls is experimenting with 360 video content and Augmented Reality.
  • Mark Zusman, the editor and publisher of Willamette Week in Portland, Oregon, spoke about how local newspapers shouldn't be cookie-cutter or identical replicas of more large-scale newspapers. The papers have to be created, formulated, and driven by people who live and work in the market.
  • Local newspapers can focus on creating content not provided elsewhere, such as what is happening with the local school system and the local planning and zoning. Al Cross of the University of Kentucky and Institute for Rural Journalism, describes that the information that people get from a local newspaper are the kinds of information that people will continue to want years and years down the line.
Sources
Sources

From Part 05